Corruption Case: Costs Continue To Rise

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

 

The nightmare isn’t over for Tamarac Mayor Beth Talabisco…or taxpayers.

Corruption charges against Talabisco were thrown out by Circuit Judge Cyndy Imperato in March, 2012.

 

Judge Cindy Imperato: Threw out case for lack of evidence 

 

 

Imperato ruled there was no evidence that the mayor received a personal benefit from contributions by a pair of corrupt developers to get her elected.

You though that was the end?

Not by a long shot.

In our American Justice system, cases have more twists and turns than a soap opera and drag on just as long.

In all the ruckus about recalling Commissioner Patte Atkins Grad after her acquittal by jurors on corruption, the active case against Talabisco has been forgotten.

It is alive and kicking.

Arguments were heard on State Attorney Michael Satz’s appeal of the dismissal early last month. That’s more than a year after the case was tossed out.

Attorneys await the decision of the three-judge Fourth District Court of Appeal panel, which may not come for another six months.

The case could go different ways from here:

  • The appeals court affirms the dismissal without comment. Most likely the case ends there.
  • The appeals court affirms the dismissal with a decision.  This could generate an appeal by prosecutors to the Florida Supreme Court contesting the appeals’ judges reasoning.
  • The appeals court overturns the dismissal and orders a new trial.  This starts the process over again in Broward County Circuit Court.

The only sure things is that the meter is running for taxpayers.

Tamarac has already shelled out $138,998 in legal fees for the mayor’s trial — $125,000 in fees for Talabisco’s criminal defense attorney Larry Davis and another $11,998 in costs such as taking depositions and paying for transcripts.

I looked at Davis’ preparation for the case.  I think he charged too little for the reams of research he produced during his initial groundwork for the case.

Initial groundwork because if this case is ordered back for a trial, Davis will have to take more depositions and investigate further.

If Talabisco is eventually convicted after a new trial, she must repay the money.  If she is acquitted in a trial or the case is thrown out for good, the city owes more.

Ca-ching, ca-ching.

I have no idea what Satz has spent, but there is no reason to believe it is any less than Davis.

The case hinges on whether contributions of more than $17,000 by crooked builders Shawn and Bruce Chait to fund attack ads and a poll by an independent committee constituted an illegal benefit to Talabisco under state law.

The committee was supposedly run without Talabisco’s knowledge.

Judge Imperato, a former cop and prosecutor who has the reputation of being pro-prosecution, ruled that Satz never proved Talabisco personally benefitted from the shady contributions.

What will the appeal judges rule as the case climbs the ladder of justice?

We’ve got a long way to go and many more dollars to spend before this case is finally stamped “closed.”

 



10 Responses to “Corruption Case: Costs Continue To Rise”

  1. Chaz Stevens, Malcontent says:

    In Deerfield Beach, the city charter, in certain circumstances, allows a politician, facing legal hurdles, to have their attorney’s fees prepaid.

    Thankfully, our very talented City Attorney, Andy Maurodis, opined in the case of Al Capellini, his charges weren’t related to the performance of his duties. Capellini, for the record, asked for the prepayment of his fees. I can’t begin to imagine the size of David Bogenschutz’s bill (four years in the running).

    With Gonot and Poitier, neither asked, nor was granted the prepayment.

    Here’s the trouble with Deerfield’s charter.

    Suppose in the case of Poitier, the city prepaid her legal fees. Sylvia’s then found guilty, meaning the city would have to collect.

    Do you imagine Poitier, who hasn’t paid property taxes in over a decade, would cough up the dough?

    Would the city then farm the matter to a collection service?

    I’d offer to write the dunning letter — “Dear Cheap Fuck. Pay up.”

    ***

    If Talabisco loses, does she have the financial wherewithall to repay the taxpayer?

    Or, as I would guess, does John and Jane Q. Public get hosed once again?

  2. What a joke says:

    Hmm Mayor Beth gets help from an “third party group” allegedly not connected to the Mayor that was financed by the Chaits to help her get elected which is still in the Courts.

    Now, the Tamarac Recall Committee another group which is supposedly not connected to the Mayor but is trying to recall Atkins-Grad while the Committee refuses to consider and justifies the actions of Mayor Beth. Essentially they are protecting her from recall, just like the Chait group helped her get elected.

    By the way Barry Harris, husband of prior Judicial Candidate Julie Shapiro Harris, was involved of both of these groups. I wonder if the Mayor will be endorsing Julie if she runs again.

    The Recall Committee is a farse, how can they ask people to recall Atkins-Grad and not Mayor Beth?

    Obviously there is much more going on here than a simple grass roots effort. Too bad the Recall Committee does not have to list their financial benefactors.

  3. Independent says:

    Question: If the State Attorney wins on appeal, and it goes back for a trial, is the Mayor suspended again? Does the Mayor have to pay back the city (attorney fees, costs and wages) if she eventually loses? Was it premature for the City to pay her attorney fees and back wages until the case was fully resolved?

    I don’t know but it does create a problem.

    FROM BUDDY:
    I’m not 100 percent sure on the status of her suspension. I assume it is reinstated if she goes back to trial.
    As I wrote, she has to pay back the attorneys fees if she is convicted. I don’t think she has to pay back the salary for the time she is working as mayor.
    You can decide whether it was premature. I don’t think the city had a choice. The case was tossed out and she had been reinstated.

  4. Tamarac Still Talking says:

    Ilene Lieberman is to blame for all this. She should have been indicted since evidence showed that she was the person who was instrumental in hooking the Chaits up with Talabisco. She goes free and the mayor is on the hook. Something is wrong.

  5. concerned citizen says:

    Buddy what you say is so. What is unthinkable is the personal side of a lingering saga. Mrs. Talabisco has not only endured the last 3 years of legal trauma, financial trauma, but serious medical issues along the way. She, thank G-d can call herself a cancer survivor. In the beginning of the legal issues she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Three years later and a double mastectomy she is thriving but the legal drama continues. Something is radically wrong with that picture. Mr. Satz you won reelection
    , it’s time to stop. It’s time to let Mr & Mrs. Talabisco get on with their lives.

  6. What? says:

    So the Mayor’s attorneys fees are double that of the Commissioner who actually took her case to trial. Davis milked the city pretty good. How is it again that Talabisco is not being recalled?

    Recall them both, but doing one and not the other looks as corrupt as the whole matter from the get to. Obviously Talabisco has cut a deal with the recall people not to be recalled, why else with anyone with common sense who sought social justice not do both.

  7. concerned citizen says:

    Responding to “What” could the fact the the mayor’s case was dismissed have anything to do with not being recalled. No wrong doing! Comparing Patti Atkins Grad’s situation and Mayor Talabisco is so ridiculous I can’t even thing of a comparison. Black and white, apples and oranges……not strong enough. There’s no reason for inflammatory remarks – if you don’t know what you are talking about. You are entitled to your opinion but there is no room for slander within an opinion.

  8. Han Solo says:

    Let’s get back to the facts, not everyone else’s version of what didn’t happen. As for Talabisco: Fact 1) Lieberman set this whole thing up thru her henchwoman Bev Stracher – her testimony for which she got immunity, not my opinion.
    Fact 2) Lieberman/Stracher thru the electioneering committee funneled money to political scumbags Heckler and Harris with some Udine thrown in for no reason – their testimoney, not my opinion.
    Fact 3) Chaits contribute, not illegal – State Law, not my opinion.
    Fact 4) Talabisco wins in a landslide, not illegal and not attributable to the Chaits contribution – common sense, not my opinion as you don’t get 60% of the vote in a 4 way race because someone ran one crappy attack ad.
    Fact 5) Karen Roberts is still pissed, ask her and she’ll tell you, not my opinion.
    Fact 6) When all this was presented to a hanging judge the hanging judge ruled Talabisco was innocent because no evidence existed to suggest a crime. Innocent says the court, not my opinion.
    Fact 7) Atkins Grad admitted thru counsel she was incompetant, stupid, and too naive to realize taking money, gifts, and parties from developers was a crime. The jury agreed she was too stupid to knowwhat she did was wrong at let her off. Not because she was innocent like Talabisco, but because she was too stupid to realize what she was doing constituted a crime and as such she had no criminal intent, thus a not guilty verdict.
    Fact 8) The Recall Group has valid reasons to recall Atkins Grad, she’s incompetant and not fit to serve. Talabisco was found to be innocent by the judge and the charges dismissed. Their’s a big difference between innocent and not guilty, thus the recall of Atkins Grad, not Talabisco.
    Fact 9) Talabisco is innocent, Atkins Grad is incompetant by her own admission.
    Fact 10) the taxpayers are getting screwed, by both the system(Satz/Donnelly) and their elected rep Atkins Grad.

  9. SaveTheMainlands says:

    concerned citizen, read the the arrest warrant.

    http://media.miamiherald.com/smedia/2011/03/09/18/Beth_Flansbaum-Talabisco-_Redacted.source.prod_affiliate.56.pdf

  10. concerned citizen 2 says:

    Tamarac still talking and Han Solo must be the Mayor or her husband. They are trying to make us believe that the state attorney doesn’t investigate every complaint and bit of evidence they get, no matter the source. What BS. So Beth and hubby did what guilty perps do, they made up BS and tried to blame someone else for their own crime. Recall Beth!

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