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Poitier's Divine Tragedy

Broward Times

Remember Sylvia Poitier? She's the one who was voted off the Broward County Commission after creating an untoward relationship (financially) with reviled mega-developer Michael Swerdlow.

You might remember that she had her political Lazarus moment by getting elected to the Deerfield Beach city commission.

Well, she's running into trouble again in Deerfield, this time for her loyalty to the terrible twosome in that little piece of heaven, namely suspended City Manager Larry Deetjen and Mayor Al Capellini.

When Deetjen was suspended by the commission on June 6 for making racist remarks to a Palm Beach International Airport parking employee, Poitier was the only commissioner (other than Capellini) to support the manager. And she happened to be the only black commissioner on the dais.

Now this might have come from some deep principle. Perhaps she knew something the rest of us didn't know or she had a high-minded reason for not voting against Deetjen.


It was just another blatant example of political cowardice. Poitier cut and ran from the debate. Here's what she said during the meeting, directly from the official tape from the city clerk:

As long as my name is not called, I'm going to be very quiet and crazy. ... I don't get in all fights, but if you all want to fight about it then I can fight about it. Because I said, don't call my name. I am not going to get involved in this. I am black. And I am black as the night's that are black. There is nothing oreo about me nor white about me. ... Don't use me to suspend or fire the city manager. Just leave me out of it. Whatever you all do is fine, but don't call my name. Don't call my name because I don't want it to be attached to this alleged or proven statement. However you have it is fine. Just do what you have to do ... but don't put me in this one.

So why was she so "quiet and crazy"? Well Sun-Sentinel reporter Susannah Bryan gave us an idea in a story last week. Basically, Bryan reports how Poitier used her position as commissioner to help steer $100,000 to a firm run by her daughter and another relative. Read the story, which was buried in the newspaper and disguised under a misleadingly dull headline. Kenneth Nairn of the Broward Times followed with his own version.

The theory: Poitier forged an unholy deal with Deetjen and now is bound to him as he and Capellini make their final descent through the nine rings of hell. Should make for an interesting ride.

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman

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