Corruption Plea Bargain A Good Deal For All

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

State Attorney Mike Satz has finally agreed it was the wrong case against the wrong defendant.

This case dragged on for so long that I wonder how much it cost us?

$100,000?  More.

Satz’s prosecutors Monday finally agreed that their case was going nowhere against former County Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin.

Prosecutors approved a plea bargain that will give the woman three years probation and a $3,000 fine.  She pleaded to three misdemeanor counts of falsifying papers.

She faced up to 55 years in the state pen for five felonies for unlawful compensation.

The commissioner is charged with voting for grants that gave her husband Richard Rubin $45,000 in bonuses.

So what happened to this linchpin of Satz’s anti-corruption drive?

One problem: Prosecutors waited years to file the charges.

By the time they got around to dealing with Wasserman-Rubin in 2010, the alleged wrongdoing was almost a decade old.  It even took prosecutors three years after she paid a $15,000 fine to the state Ethics Commission to file charges.

It looked to many like Satz, facing re-election at the time, was piling on.

While prosecutors built their case oh so slowly, Wasserman Rubin was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

She is now a very sick woman.  She is in a wheel chair.   Her condition got so bad by last September that she had a brain operation to control her tremors and inability to navigate.

In theory, illness shouldn’t matter.  Justice is justice.

In the real world, no jury or judge would send her to jail.

In fact, Miami Dade Circuit Judge Spencer Eig has already announced he would never put the terminally ill Wasserman-Rubin in prison.  That may have finally swayed Satz.

This case was a loser from the start. There were real questions about some of the evidence.

A plea bargain is a good deal.

It’s a good deal for Wasserman-Rubin.  She now gets to keep her pension, estimated at roughly $5,000-a-month.

It is a good deal for Satz. This dog is cleared off his books and prosecutors can go on to more pressing matters.

It is a good deal for taxpayers, who don’t have to keep pouring money into a loser.

But whether it is a good deal for the administration of justice, we’ll never know.

 

 



32 Responses to “Corruption Plea Bargain A Good Deal For All”

  1. They Eat Their Own says:

    you ask fir legal advice, get it from two lawyers., go forward and it ruins your life.

  2. Ha Ha Ha says:

    So a corrupt official gets to receive $60,000 per year for life from the taxpayers, and that’s a victory for the taxpayers according to Satz? Way to deter corruption, Satz… NOT!!! That $60,000 a year should be taken out of Satz’s paycheck and the paycheck of Satz’s incompetent Public Corruption department head. Alas, yet another pathetic episode of Satz The Buffoon makes its way into the sad history of Broward County…

    FROM BUDDY:

    The pension is an issue that is divorced from the charges against her. She did work approximately 30 years under the state pension system, however the amount she is due is ridiculous. It is an issue that should be addressed by the Legislature.

  3. Ghost of McLovin says:

    This is freaking unbelievable. She broke laws related to her public position, including receiving financial benefits for her votes and lobbying of her co-commissioners, yet because she is sick she’s exempt from the law? What happens when she dies next week? The scum of the earth bastard husband of hers receives her state pension for the rest of his life. The Broward judiciary is as corrupt as she is, with every judge related to, married to, or politically indebted to every other Democrat elected official in this town. If the state pension board doesn’t recind her pension, it should at least be sure it isn’t allowed be be granted to Rubin after she’s gone. What a disgrace.

  4. Ha Ha Ha says:

    No, Buddy, that isn’t an issue that is in any way divorced from the charges against her. She was originally charged with seven felony counts of unlawful compensation for voting 15+ times in favor of grants written by her husband. Her husband got $1.1 million to write grant applications, plus $45,000 in bonuses for grants his wife supported. Had she been convicted of even one felony charge, she would have lost that $60,000 per year state pension. By pleading only to misdemeanors, she gets to keep raking in the taxpayer bucks, about double what the average person makes from full-time work, in exchange for doing absolutely nothing, for life. Crime pays and pays and pays!!! And Satz fiddles while Broward burns…

  5. Beth The Bounty Hunter says:

    She is in the Florida Retirement System and there are 3 options. If she picked the one where she gets the most per month, the scum bastard would not get anything after her passing.

  6. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Oh, and her husband, Richard Rubin, wound up serving 10 months of easy time in a federal minimum-security prison. But it wasn’t for ripping off the Broward taxpayer.

    You see, while he and his wife were living lavishly and buying expensive art works, taking cruises, taking European vacations, and dropping $150,000 on home repairs (the average person’s entire home costs less than that), it seems that he couldn’t be bothered to report $100,000 he received from the town of Davie for a land deal on his federal tax return – so the feds busted him for tax evasion. He’ll be out of prison within 8 weeks, if he isn’t out already, and he gets to keep the $1.1 million too!!

    So watch for Richard Rubin and his wife, Diana Wasserman-Rubin, soon to star as the next wealthy, glamorous and oh so gently wrist-slapped couple in the exquisite cover portrait of Corruption Pays magazine!! Co-starring Mike Satz as the pathetic prosecutor who throws the book at victimless crimes (like marijuana possession) but lets corrupt politicians just tap-dance away from the most heinous offenses!! And for Best Supporting Role, we have the Broward Taxpayer, whose hard-earned money pays for the obscene incomes, McMansion homes, and glitzy lifestyles of these high-status scumbags!!

  7. PandaBeat says:

    Good for her! Glad her ordeal is over and although having to admit guilt to something you never did might be terrible and weighing on her heavily, it was in her best interest and certainly worth it. Losing her pension over a scumbag’s betrayal was in her worst interest. Just hope the scumbag who alerted Satz in the first place can live with being pissed off the rest of his life because the plan didn’t work. Her list of friends has certainly dropped because people faked friendship for a personal gain of some sort, but now that all is said and done, only those who stood by her side through thick and thin have proven to be true blue. I hope her surgery helps alleviate her symptoms and that life smiles at her every morning. Congratulations Commissioner!!!

  8. just the facts says:

    the hubby made over a million dollars ($1,000,000.00) in design fees fron the Town of Southwest Ranches
    Plus the $45,000. bonus

    Broward voters paid for and are still paying every year in our property tax bill for the $400,000.00 Park Bond.

    sweet deal for DWR

  9. Chaz Stevens, Malcontent says:

    And we know now the play corrupt politicians will call when faced with charges.

    “The Sylvia Poitier.”

  10. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    She should have thought about all this crap before she went along w/ her husband to defraud the taxpayer. So she could buy her gaudy paintings(are they oil) and her cruises. This is bullshit. They have federal medical hospital setting prisons that could have acomodated her all day long. I agree however Buddy this State Att. should have went after Lieberman(box, after box, after box-to the ceiling w/ red ‘s name on them. Also my friend Comm.Ritter(be nice to your Father) w/ your name on alot of these boxes as well). So why he let Leiberman off the hook? Who knows. Make no mistake Ms.Immunity here- she ratted on everybody(snitch)……

  11. Aletheia says:

    The fact that she only has to pay a fine of $3,000 is an insult to all taxpayers! That’s a pittance. Why not start with the $45,000 her filthy husband received based on his wife approving his grants at the County? These two scumbags traveled out of the country with the proceeds from their convenient, illegal arrangement, remodeled their home and lived high on the hog. And all this pig has to pay back is $3,000! What a travesty of justice! Ask the County workforce how many of them get to retire on $60,000 a year, after working the same number of years! You’ll find the number is very small!

  12. courtwatch says:

    In all my years, I have never seen anything like this. Mike Satz and Ms. Maus should be ashamed of themselves. How do you folks sleep at night. Not well I assume.

    Hope you can live with yourselves after this one Katherine. I know you have aspirations to climb up the filthy state attorneys ladder. Hope you fall and break a leg.

  13. GIMS says:

    Weren’t the grants passed with an unanimous vote of 9 county commissioners? If Commissioner Wasserman Rubin had not voted, wouldn’t the grants would have passed with the unanimous vote of 8 county commissioners? A unanimous vote either way!

  14. Sense of Purpose says:

    Diana only voted because two Attorneys told her she had to. If she hadn’t voted, Michael Satz would have charged her with violating the law by not voting. No way she could win.

  15. outsider says:

    Taxpayers get to pay for a ridiculous prosecution when Michael Satz lets the real political corruption continue every day.

  16. citizn says:

    courtwatch you are right on.
    my same feelings.
    Satz- time to retire
    Haufman- go back to selling clothes.
    You are an inept puppet with no soul.
    Can’t sleep, take ambien- but be careful when you sleepwalk
    may find ourself in trouble

  17. Eternalflow says:

    The truth is, there was no public corruption. PERIOD.

    Mrs. Wasserman-Rubin served the people of Broward honorably for 30 years. Towards the end, she received some bad advice from two different county attorneys and voted on grants that would have passed unanimously anyway.

    The prosecutor realized they didn’t have the evidence to support the felony charges– but still they pressed on. Rather than risk the unpredictability of a trial, the defendant chose to accept a plea bargain so she could receive her EARNED pension that she needs for ongoing medical treatments.

    Real life is not like the movies where innocent people risk “everything” to prove their innocence in court. In reality, people are wrongly convicted all the time. Our justice system is many things, but it is not perfect and it is rarely fair.

    If I was in her position I would probably have done the same thing.

    Oh, and that “million” dollars her husband received for grant writing? That was a total figure over the course of many years and it doesn’t include the salary he had to pay his staff and other expenses. In reality, his compensation was no greater than other grant writers throughout the state.

    Justice has been served. Time to move on.

  18. Ha Ha Ha says:

    And why exactly did these two county attorneys tell her to vote on the grants? Let’s see…
    —–
    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/elections/fl-diana-wasserman-rubin-pleads-out-20130422,0,3797625.story

    [...] “Guilty in my best interest,” Wasserman-Rubin said three times in response to the charges.

    She admitted in court Monday that she provided false information – on three different occasions – to the Broward County attorney’s office about whether her husband Richard Rubin would receive bonus payments for matters she voted on while she was on the commission.

    The county attorney’s office issued three legal opinions saying that she could vote based on the information she provided on Dec. 1, 2000, April 8, 2002, and July 6, 2005, prosecutors said. [...]
    ——
    Ah, there we have it… ^Wasserman-Rubin LIED to the attorneys in order to get them to issue those opinions saying she could vote on the grants her husband wrote, which were based on the false information she provided!

    FROM BUDDY:

    I suspected that prosecutors believed she had lied to the county attorneys and that influenced their opinions.

    However, she wouldn’t have admitted any lies to them if the case had gone to trial.

  19. Ha Ha Ha says:

    http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/rubinaffadavit.pdf

    [...] On April 8, 2002, Wasserman-Rubin was advised by County Attorney Edward Dion that “… if by your vote your husband would receive any special private gain, you must declare a conflict of interest and abstain from voting …”. After that warning, and in spite of that warning, Wasserman-Rubin voted numerous times to approve Town Safe Parks grant applications that resulted in three separate $15,000 bonuses being paid to her husband. [...]

    FROM BUDDY:

    I appreciate this.

    I took out all reference to the opinions. Although they said she could vote on the project, that was apparently based on false information she provided them.

  20. PandaBeat says:

    Eternalflow has it right. Diana filled out an NC Form at the Courthouse and initialed by the line that reads: I believe that the plea is in my best interest even though I say that I am innocent of the charges. That’s all she did. It is her right as a citizen and she did it to get her ordeal over with. She maintained her innocence by doing so. Time to whine elsewhere. Get on with your life, people!

  21. Ha Ha Ha says:

    In 1999, Wasserman-Rubin took Richard Rubin as her third husband. In 2000, she was elected to the District 8 County Commission seat, which represents the town of Southwest Ranches. In 2001, the town of Southwest Ranches hired Richard Rubin as a grant writer – gee, what a coincidence!!

    It gets worse… much worse… see below:

    http://www.browardpalmbeach.com/2005-03-24/news/cash-cow/full/

    http://www.browardpalmbeach.com/2005-05-26/news/cash-cow-part-2/full/

  22. no kidding says:

    shes lucky the incompentents at SAO were handling this and not the Dept of Justice attorneys that dealt with her husband
    she would not have had an out like she got and would not keep that pension
    Synergy Solutions for Florida LLC was the company Rubin and John Canada (wasn’t he a mayor or mgr in SWR?) that got the millions of dollars in design fees and grants
    they took that website down as soon as the charges were filed in May 2010 but LLC is still active on sunbi.org
    all told she got off easy but not the husband

  23. sw raunches says:

    I can tell by the comments full of venim that you folks are from sw raunches. You dont deserve a response, but let me remind you, those parks were sought by the town and voted on unanimously. Wassermans vote was irrelevant- it wasnt like she was the swing. Your venim towards her is disgusting. Go back to wallowing in the mud like pigs

    you people are embarrasing yourselves.

  24. Eternalflow says:

    “In 2001, the town of Southwest Ranches hired Richard Rubin as a grant writer – gee, what a coincidence!!”

    Rubin had been writing grants for numerous Broward cities and towns before 2001, and many of them had come before the county commission.

    There’s no “coincidence” at all. There’s just you, selectively interpreting the few facts you bothered to look up.

  25. Ha Ha Ha says:

    http://www.browardpalmbeach.com/2005-03-24/news/cash-cow/full/

    [...] A month after the town was incorporated, the Rubins bought a $305,000 home in Southwest Ranches (at the right time — their house is likely worth $700,000 or more today). Wasserman-Rubin was then the clear front-runner for the commission seat. Managing her campaign was none other than Bernie Friedman, an influential lobbyist who works for the Poliakoffs’ law firm.

    The Ranches has not only provided Richard Rubin a free office in which to conduct his business but has paid him as much as $1 million for writing grants. If that sounds like an obscene amount of money for a part-time government gig, that’s because it is. Most grant writers, even those working full-time for a big city, would consider themselves lucky to earn $75,000 annually.

    From the start, Rubin pulled phenomenal coin from Southwest Ranches, in the ballpark of $200,000 a year, give or take 10 or 20 grand. He clearly had nothing to complain about, but things would get much better. And his fortuitous rise in compensation would occur simultaneously with his wife’s political rise. In November 2002, Wasserman-Rubin was appointed for a yearlong term as Broward’s first mayor. Just four months later, Southwest Ranches basically began to print money for the man, town records indicate. And it was done with a confusing string of contracts that the Ranchers for a Better Government say effectively hid the payout from the public’s view.

    First, on February 10, 2003, the council approved a yearlong contract with Rubin for $78,000. A month later, it spiced up the deal by approving an additional $175,000 for Rubin. Three months after that, the council gave Rubin a $15,000 performance bonus. Then, in November 2003, Rubin was awarded another $155,000 contract.

    Then, during a town meeting on April 8, 2004, Canada asked the board to approve an emergency outlay of $29,999 to Rubin for a month’s worth of work, saying his contracts had all been paid. The council approved the money, with Maines casting the only nay vote.

    That adds up to some ludicrous lucre — $452,999 in a maze of contracts during a 14-month period. [...] Wasserman-Rubin, apparently, is accustomed to taking care of her husband in more ways than one; she’s also served as an enthusiastic supporter on the County Commission for her husband’s grant requests.

    She has not only voted for each one of the town grants authored by Rubin but has added successful motions to the commission agenda directing county staff to help the town acquire property and shift funds to Southwest Ranches coffers. Wasserman-Rubin even gave the town $482,500 of the $1 million allotted from the county parks bond to her office for discretionary spending. [...]

  26. tax rolls says:

    the SWR house they bought in July 2000 for $305,000 (bcpa.net) was sold in April 2012 for $395,000. and if they pulled equity out to pay the legal bills there was likely no profit.
    the post-conviction outcome for both could have been far worse

  27. Aletheia says:

    Some of the comments have defended Wasserman-Rubin by saying that the items that she voted on passed unanimously, so they would have been approved with or without her vote. That totally misses the point. There was a conflict of interest, as far as she was concerned. She and her husband stood to gain something financially by her vote. And they most certainly cashed in. She should have recused herself and not voted on items related to SW Ranches. That would have been the right thing to do. Portraying her as some innocent victim is a joke. The game was rigged and she and her husband benefited from their cozy relationship!

  28. Eternalflow says:

    I’m not sure what you’re getting at..

    Is it a crime for two professionals to buy a $300K home?

    Mr. Rubin was frequently compensated by the town of Southwest Ranches for services rendered, but how is that a crime? There’s never been an allegation that he did no work, or was paid more than any other grant writer for doing equal work.

    You throw big (and accurate?) numbers around as if they represented payments to Mr. Rubin personally. Do you know how much he actually took home after paying his staff’s salary and other business expenses?

    Every time Mr. Rubin received compensation it had to first be approved by the town’s council. If you’re saying that his wife “pulled strings”, how, exactly, did that work? Was the entire town council corrupt too?

    And if you’re claiming this had something to do with the few votes his wife cast on the county commission, wouldn’t it be ridiculous for the town council to pay for votes that would all have passed unanimously without her participation?

    Is it wrong for a county commissioner to send the bulk of discretionary funds to the district that elected her? Wouldn’t it be worse if she sent them somewhere else?

    And finally, the big one. If what Mrs. Wasserman-Rubin did was so egregiously wrong and illegal, why did the prosecutor end up dropping the felony charges? If they had actual evidence of a crime, it doesn’t matter what the judge said about her health or possible punishments– they would have pushed forward on principle.

    This case may seem obvious to you at first glance, but if you dig deeper it just doesn’t add up. Maybe the reason is… THERE WAS NO CRIME HERE. There was just an honorable woman who misjudged the advice of a county attorney whose opinion she sought to AVOID any ethical problems.

  29. broward biz as usual says:

    after reading the affadavit (link posted above) Roubicek, the SAI in Satz’ office cannot be faulted for not prevailing in the case against her. He was matched with a formidable opposing counsel who poked or blew holes and the result is what it is. i’ll bet chages against any elected persons will not be brought again by SAO Satz offie because they will always be mismatched with defendant counsel. Lesson learned – hire a very very good attorney

  30. Wake up people says:

    Poliakoff the Town Attorney of Southwest Ranches should have been the first to speak to Richard Rubin about the illegality of writing grants that his wife will vote on. Poliakoff, along with Representative Katie Edwards is now trying to pass an amendment to the Florida Right to Farm Act that will affect any Farm structure being built in Florida with out a building permit.

  31. Ha Ha Ha says:

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/opinion/editorials/fl-editorial-wasserman-rubin-gs-20130424,0,2123432.story

    Outrage justified in Wasserman-Rubin corruption case
    5:55 p.m. EDT, April 24, 2013s

    If you are outraged by how South Florida’s latest public corruption case wound up, you are justified. Totally.

    In a region that’s grown almost numb to the parade of public officials arrested for corruption, the disposition of the case against former Broward County Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin is particularly galling.

    [...] because of her physical condition, Wasserman-Rubin, 66, who faced five felony counts of receiving unlawful compensation, is getting off with a tiny wrist slap — a $3,000 fine and three years of probation for pleading guilty to three misdemeanor charges of falsifying records.

    Adding to the outrage, she’ll almost certainly get to keep her state pension of about $4,895 a month. That’s about $60,000 a year of your money for a public official who should be behind bars.

    [...] because of the former commissioner’s physical challenges, the Broward State Attorney’s Office lacked confidence it could secure a guilty verdict at trial.

  32. just saying says:

    the current FL Bldg Code exempts certain structures up to a certain size from needing a sign and seal from a design professional and I thought that included no permit either
    that doesn’t mean you don’t build it righ – if electrical and plumbing is in barn you want licensed work
    electrical fires in barns can kill animals

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