Will Tamarac Recall Survive Court?

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

 

Recalls – the attempt to toss an elected official from office – usually fails when it reaches the courthouse.

This time Tamarac voters have a real chance of driving a city commissioner from office even if it ends up in court. They may really accomplish what so many other Broward voters have failed to do – successfully recall an elected.

The first step in recalling Commissioner Patte Atkins-Grad has passed.  Recall supporters presented the Tamarac City Clerk’s Office on Wednesday with 1,468 signed petitions.

Historically the petitions don’t count. Judges and not voters decide recalls.

Politicians have traditionally sued to block their recall.  Once in court, recall supporters have had trouble proving that politicians were guilty of recallable offenses — misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance.

Usually they are only guilty of voting for unpopular measures.

Recalls were once largely a political tool.  In the 1970s in Sunrise, Miramar and other west Broward cities, recalls were as common as bulldozers. Commission rivals used them for revenge or leverage in an era when city hall politics was all elbows.

Petitions were easily gathered.  Judges quickly dismissed them out as groundless.

Pembroke Park Mayor Barney “King” Koretsky beat back recalls 30 years ago, fighting one all the way to the Florida Supreme Court.

Politics was also behind the recall against then-County Commissioner Marsha Beach’s problem in 1981. She beat back a recall effort run by Bill Glynn, chairman of the Broward Republican Party at the time. Glynn was upset Beach supported spending more money to cope with growth.

A judge ruled that voting for more spending wasn’t misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance.

A few years later, then-Hollywood Mayor Mara Giulianti faced the same type of recall from residents upset with her pro-development positions.  A judge ruled the petition was invalid.

The petition drive in the late 1990s against then-Pembroke Pines Commissioner Kitty Thibault was ruled groundless.

And on and on.

Despite these past decisions, Atkins-Grad has real problems.

She was acquitted of charges she traded votes for favors from a pair of corrupt developers. Her defense appeared to be that she was too stupid to know it was illegal.

Malfeasance is intentionally doing something legally wrong. Misfeasance is breaching trust by improperly performing a legal act.

If Atkins-Grad fights the recall in court, will a judge agree that she didn’t “intentionally” do anything because she too dumb to know it was wrong? Did she “breach the trust” of the voters by allowing developers’ gifts to sway her vote.

Maybe. Maybe not.

Recall Chairman Al Entin, a tough veteran of the courthouse as a long-time defense attorney, is champing at the bit to get Atkins-Grad on the witness stand.

If she sues to block the recall, Entin said, “The best she will do is tie it up in courts. That’s on her dime.

“I don’t think the acquittal proves anything,” Entin told Browardbeat.com. “It’s like O. J. Simpson. The question is whether she took the gift or money.  She never denied it.

“Let’s get her on the stand without the Fifth Amendment protection and see if she took a gift and didn’t disclose it as required.”

He said that once he finishes with her testimony, he believes it will prove misfeasance, malfeasance or even nonfeasance.

“It won’t be that hard a hurtle,” he said.

Entin’s bombast aside, many recall cases are decided without testimony.  The judge issues an opinion after reading motions.  Entin may never get Atkins-Grad on the stand.

Still, I agree with him that there are good, legal grounds to recall the Tamarac commissioner.  My opinion really doesn’t count.

In the end if this ends up in court, only one opinion will count.  And we call that person, Your Honor.

 



36 Responses to “Will Tamarac Recall Survive Court?”

  1. Talking Tamarac says:

    Buddy,

    While I think she should get her legal fees paid and resign, I’m not so sure it gets through the court.

    Wasn’t the money received prior to her actually taking office?

    Doesn’t the statute say the malfeasance occur while in office.

    Again, I think she should resign and apologize in disgust.

  2. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Ok so some over zealous residents in Tamarac want Comm.Atkins-Grad gone yesterday-i get it. One thing they conviently omit is the cost to hold the special election. These residents (some-well over 1400 of you-fine) are not telling us what this will cost Tamarac(60, 70, 80grand-who knows w/ Dr.Snipes and her crew). Here in Ft.Lau it’s like pulling teeth to get her to tell Ft.lau the “true cost of the our Election(dis2)200g-my ass. So put it simply it wil cost you folks to get rid of her. Counter-productive. Let her finish her term and then don’t vote for her again(fair enough). This aggressive manuevering to get rid of Comm.Grad-I ask but at what cost to the taxpayer? Besides you allready owe her almost 200g for her legal expenses, back pay, insurance etc. Lastly Comm. I stated on this blog, your alibi, excuse etc, that you where in waaay over your head, and you were not capable of understanding the ramifications of your actions. Wrong move-even though you were acquitted , now you hav e this mess to deal w/. You should have stated the State has a weak case, relying on snitches to bring me down. W/ the grad-daddy taking the stand(Chait sr-you where found not guilty right then and there….Good luck..

  3. My .02 Cents says:

    My confusion is why does Sharon Baron, Entin, Dressler, etc have to be so nasty in trying to get her to resign. They all look like bullies.

    If they have the petitions 2x times around and believe they can win the election, why so much pressure for her to resign? It seems to me these folks are not so sure of success and bullying her to resign is the easy way out.

    Also, what about Talabisco, a neighbor of mine who lives in Woodlands says everyone is confused, not because they sympathize with Atkins Grad but they cant understand how Talabisco is not being recalled as well. She was charged with a similar crime involving the Chaits and she was found by a judge not to have received improper benefits like Atkins Grad was found not to have received improper beneifts by a jury.

    I beleive we still have a system of innocent until proven guilty. Why would Atkins-Grad have to “deny” anything, it was the job of the prosecutor to prove their her guilt and they failed.

    Finally, Buddy, does it not seem odd tha Sam Goren the City Attorney for Tamarac seems very partial to the Pro Recall group? I heard he approved the language in the Petition.

  4. Credibility lost says:

    I am sure Ms. Aron Baron will have this removed quickly so I saved the photo and I have a screen cap.

    Here is a picture that she describes on Facebook consisting of “Volunteers, supporters and media at Tamarac City Hall today.”

    Look who is at the bottom of the picture… the infamous Barry Harris. The same Barry Harris who ran the ECO set up by the Chaits to help Beth Talabisco.

    Hmmm why is it again Sharon that you are not moving to recall Talabisco. Maybe it is because you are all working together on this?

    https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/photo.php?fbid=268205209976741&set=a.249608425169753.61487.238948999569029&type=1&theater

    Learn more about Barry Harris, Talabisco and the Chaits here

    http://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/news/2011/03/09/tamarac-mayor-arrested-for-bribery.html?page=all

  5. Independent says:

    Talking Tamarac, I believe that it was while in office. That is why she was charged in the first place.

    I do not know if the courts will let the recall go forward, but if there ever was a case, this is it.

    Her testimony on the stand will be critical and revealing.

    If Atkins-Grad really wants to save the city money, if the court upholds and they get the signatures for the recall, she should call it a day and resign. At that point the writing is on the wall and I am sure a vote will be a landslide to recall.

    Of course, she is in denial so she probably will take it to the end and require the vote. Sad.

    FROM BUDDY: I’m not sure if some of the charges against Atkins-Grad — she was acquitted on them — took place after she took office. The most publicized charges involving the downpayment for the BMW took place more than three months after she took office (She leased the car December 2006, months after March 2006 election, according to the Sun-Sentinel.). Other charges involved campaign contributions and favors which took place before she was elected.

  6. SaveTheMainlands says:

    (Credibility lost)
    YOU ARE CORRECT, Politics in Tamarac has never been ethical or credible. History will show that most of the candidates were picked in back room deals at the infamous Democratic Club out at Kings Point.

    But I do need to come to Sharon’s defense in one respect. We agree on most issues except Talabisco’s taking the dirty money. But Sharon has never deleted or edited anything that I have posted on her sites. I have commented multiple times that Talabisco took more money from the Chaits then Grad.

  7. Tamarac Talk says:

    Credibility Lost:

    Dream on. There is no love lost between me and the rest of the Tamarac City Commission. I can’t name one that likes me, however they are respectful. They aren’t exactly fans of Tamarac Talk, and all the complaining I do about our city.

    Barry Harris is one of our volunteers and doesn’t even live in district 2. He works alongside us pounding the pavement knocking on hundreds of doors and is an asset for our recall committee.

    Many of our 15 volunteers have polical differences but we’re pretty tight now and focused on seeing this through.

  8. Real Deal says:

    Diane Glasser clearly took bribes from the Chaits but received immunity from prosecution in return for her testimony. Joe Schriber the former Mayor died before they could prosecute him on bribery charges. Norm Abromowitz who died before corruption laws were taken more seriously in Broward County was notorious for taking bribes. Tamarac has a long history of corruption and voters there need to decide whether that should continue.

  9. Tamarac Talk says:

    Talking Tamarac asked: Wasn’t the money received prior to her actually taking office?

    No. The downpayment for the BMW and victory party was received after she was in office.

    Real Deal: Diane Glasser received around $15K from the Chaits, however, she was Patte Atkins-Grad’s Campaign Manager and not an elected official at the time.

    Save the Mainlands: Thanks for your kind words. We need more activists and passionate people like us in Tamarac.

  10. Talking Tamarac says:

    So, it appears to me that the only event that can trigger the recall is the BMW payment.

    I want to stress I am no fan of Grad.

    The question in front of the court will be; does the BMW payment constitute the Malfeasance, Misfeasance, etc. Noting that she was acquitted of the offense.

    She is smug but it seems to me the voters have gotten what they voted for. Seems to me that only a hand full of people voted in the last election. This is what you get.

  11. In Court says:

    The BMW is not as simple as the Sun-Sentinel reported. She wanted a BMW, which was covered by her auto expense from Tamarac and asked Chait where she should go. He told her about a dealer and when she went she and leased the car. Nowhere on her documents did it indicate that Chait paid the downpayment and she contends she only found out after the State Attorney’s Office told her. Her attorney says Chait gave her the gift without her knowledge.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Sharon simple question warranting a simple answer…

    Why not Talabisco? Did she not have the same dirty dealings with the same dirty people as Atkins-Grad. Like Atkins-Grad her charges were dismissed by a jury just as Beth’s were dismissed by a Judge.

    FYI Sharon it was easy to get the first round of signatures unopposed, especially using men of great credibility like Barry Harris. You were able to skirt around the question “why not Beth” and how much this is costing the taxpayers?

    Different game now.

  13. Robert Walsh Jr. says:

    She definitely needs to go and is now acting dumb and Activist Robert Walsh one again since you are a frustrated convicted felon you blame Dr. Snipes which shows your stupidity and try not to go get caught once again robbing and steling since you are nothing more then a lowlife idiot

  14. Patti Lynn says:

    Wow, this is an interesting conversation. First of all, former Mayor Joe Schreiber is alive and well. It was Marc Suntanof who was arrested and died before he could be prosecuted. Atkins-Grad wanted the BMW and ASKED Shawn Chait for the down payment, because, she said,she couldn’t afford it. (That is according to testimony at the trial). The contract on the car shows the down payment due. PAG signed the contract, paid only the first month’s lease and the tag transfer, and drove off of the lot. The down payment, (REQUIRED prior to taking possession in MOST cases), was paid, in cash, several days later by Shawn Chait…at Whole Foods, or that other organic grocery store, on Wiles Road in Parkland. That testimony was given by the manager of Braman BMW.All of this was testified to at the trial. In addition to the BMW manager testifying, former City Clerk & former interim city commissioner, Marian Swenson testified, as did present interim city clerk, Patricia Teufel.

  15. Patti Lynn says:

    Sorry, that’s SULTANOF

  16. Tamarac Talk says:

    Sharon the fraud? You sound like you are incredibly stupid or insanely jealous of me.

    While you sat on your ass reading Buddy’s Blog and and playing Farmville all day, I spent the last month pounding the pavement knocking on thousands of doors in Tamarac.

    Wake up, there isn’t little fairies dropping down payments for cars and $4,000 for victory parties from the sky…..that is…. unless your vote counts for something.

  17. Broward Attorney says:

    Talabisco’s criminal case is still on appeal regarding whether Judge Imperato correctly dismissed her charges.
    The duality and hypocrisy of this recall election is clear. Go after Grad, but not Dianne Glasser and Beth Talabisco. Let’s be fair and equal here. All three took from the Chaits, all three are Tamarac’s great elected officials.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Members of my Democratic club knew something was fishy when Sharon Baron’s name popped up. This is the same wanna-bee/never-was that supports Ilene Lieberman, Stacy Riiter and Beth Talabisco yet she has a cow over Patty? Sharon wants to be a power play in the DEC. good luck hunny. We know all about you.

  19. concerned citizen says:

    I find it hard to comprehend anyone comparing Mrs. Talabisco’s situation with Patty Atkins-Grad. #1 Mrs. Talabisco’s case was DISMISSED. Enough said. I can’t stop here – Patti Atkins-Grad “to stupid to know better” give me a break. She admitted to what she was accused of – her jury bought into her “I didn’t know the gun was loaded” defense. It was Christmas time I have no doubt if you polled the jury today they would say we didn’t she’d go back to being a commissioner. Who did?

    TO: Sharon the Fraud – get your facts straight.

  20. Voice Of Reason says:

    The women leaves office anyway in 2014. Holding an election to throw her out of office for a few months is a misuse of money

  21. Voice Of Reason says:

    @Concerned Citizen A jury found Atkin-Grad NOT GUILTY. A judge threw out Talabasico’s case on a technicality. Now, who is guilty and who is not and who deserves to be recalled?

  22. Anonymous says:

    Sharon why will you not answer the question? Why only Atkins-Grad?

    Why not Talibisco?

    Maybe Mr. Entin can correct me…

    1) Talbisco and Atkins Grad upon being charged were at all times under the Constitution innocent until PROVEN guilty. Under the Constitution they had no obligation to admit or deny anything, as it was the State’s job to prove their case.
    2) Atkins-Grad had no obligation to testify so as to admit or deny anything. The State failed to prove their case and the charges were dismissed.

    3) Talibisco filed a sworn motion to dismiss admitting her knowledge of the creation of the chait funded eco. Despite her ADMISSIONS, the Judge felt the State did not have enough to go forward to trial, case dismissed.

    4) Alvin please confirm this, the Jury before making their verdict are told that statements made by the lawyers are not evidence to be weighed as to guilt or innocence.

    Like any person who knows Shawn Chait, the Jury saw him for the fraud he was and gave his testimony no weight hence a not guilty verdict.

    There is no difference between Talibisco and Atkins-Grad.

    Sharon or Alvin or Barry Harris, why are you removing one and not the other?

    So Sharon, are there fairies dropping down 25k to do a pro Talibisco ECO?

  23. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    For the last time Dr.Snipes had nothing to do w/ this mess. Her staff which is deplorable lets just say were a little over zealous. All some of you got is that “convicted felon bs. Almost 15yrs ago-get over it. I will take care of this now that everything has settled down, I am planning on going to the Clemency bd-in Tallhassee to settle this. Again though some of you are just so pathetic, you deserve to beat down and hard. I also pay taxes a hellva lot more than some of you bloggers. No income, fat, spongeing off every one else, again pathetic. Make a move some of you….. I can hardly wait…

  24. concerned citizen says:

    Voice of Reason: get your story straight -

  25. Anonymous says:

    by definition one must be “incredibly stupid” to be “insanely jealous” of Sharon Baron. My ass playing FarmVille all day beats having your fellow Democrats think you are an ass.

  26. Recall Commitee Member says:

    It is clear misfeasance and malfeasance. Even if some “contributions” were received prior to taking office they were never disclosed before her highly conflicted vote. If you credit her defense that she was too stupid or naive to know she was being bought then she is as incompetent to serve as her own attempt to avoid trial claimed she was. We did not go after Beth Talabisco as her case was not based any technicality but the grant of a C4 motion. In that circumstance EVERY allegation made by the state was deemed to be true and despite that the Court found NO laws had been violated. I agree Tanarac has been a cesspool so why is anyone objecting to our cleaning it up , one crook at a time.
    These ridiculous attacks on Sharon Baron and Barry Harris are distractions not worthy of consideration. If Tamarac had more caring, intelligent and dynamic activists like Sharon it would already be a better place to live. Barry Harris has likewise been tireless in his pursuit of this very bad Commissioner. I for one am proud of them both.

  27. Recall Commitee Member says:

    It is clear misfeasance and malfeasance. Even if some “contributions” were received prior to taking office they were never disclosed before her highly conflicted vote. If you credit her defense that she was too stupid or naive to know she was being bought then she is as incompetent to serve as her own attempt to avoid trial claimed she was. We did not go after Beth Talabisco as her case was not based any technicality but the grant of a C4 motion. In that circumstance EVERY allegation made by the state was deemed to be true and despite that the Court found NO laws had been violated. I agree Tanarac has been a cesspool so why is anyone objecting to our cleaning it up , one crook at a time.
    These ridiculous attacks on Sharon Baron and Barry Harris are distractions not worthy of consideration. If Tamarac had more caring, intelligent and dynamic activists like Sharon it would already be a better place to live. Barry Harris has likewise been tireless in his pursuit of this very bad Commissioner. I for one am proud of them both.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Let’s get back to the truth:

    1) Atkins Grad took the $$$, BMW lease downpayment;

    2) Atkins Grad took the $$$, victory party after her election;

    3) Atkins Grad claimed to be mentally deficient to the point of being incompetant to stand trial;

    4) Atkins Grad admitted to taking the $$$$ thru her lawyer’s pleadings, claiming she was too stupid to know it was wrong, let alone illegal and therefore she had no corrupt/criminal intent;

    5)Sultanof took a car and $$$ while in office and voting on certain aspects of the Chait’s projects, DOA prior to prosecution;

    6) Glasser managed Atkins Grad’s campaign and received a bonus from the Chait’s for getting Atkins Grad elected, she was not an elected official at the time and as such nothing was illegal about this. It smells bad, but smelling bad is not a crime;

    7)Schreiber goes to Isreal on the Chait’s dime. This may be the most offensive part of the whole drama as a trip to the Holy Land funded thru corruption is disgusting, but again, not illegal as he was out of office. High degree of stench;

    8)Flanbaum Talabisco, at the direction of Stracher/Lieberman/Udine/Harris/Heckler, establishes a legal electioneering committee to slander other candidates. Committee accepts $$$$ from the Chaits and sends out campaign propaganda. Forgot to mention the BS name recognition poll including Lieberman that was funded thru this exercise by the Chaits.Coincidently this was done at the same time Lieberman was considering a run for higher office. None of this is illegal and not for anything, but the President of this fair nation on down employ the same strategies.Is anyone familiar with the name Carl Rove? Judge tosses charges against Flansbaum Talabisco, not because of a technicallity, but because what her campaign did was legal. Might not smell great, but neither does Bev Stracher. Satz missed that course in law school;

    9) Portner got a used Jaguar and cash, but no one was interested because his daughter and her husband were a bigger catch, plus the cache of a safe deposit box leaves people mildly impressed;

    10) Lieberman participated at every level up to and includding a $25,000 contribution to her pet charity. Smells very bad, but corruption in the name of charity has a well established place in Broward County. She may make the same sentence as Rothstein, didn’t her sponsor her BFF’s Mayor’s Ball? Whether or not Lieberman’s husband was retained by the Chait’s for matter’s in Tamarac still remains a mystery;

    11) The Krafts are up for judgement next and if we’ve learned anything it is they will walk;

    12) The Chaits got off as they admitted to all of this, did no time, are building houses again and laughing their asses off. They did lose $$$$$MILLIONS and currently owe half the attornies in Broward $$$$ which should surprise no one. Mike Satz is a very tough negotiator!

    When you add it up Mike Satz and his crew of merry men and women will be 0 for 8 as the Krafts will walk and Flansbaum Talabisco’s appeal is going away. In the end, we all paid for this and that’s the greatest crime of all. The lawyer’s made a bundle, the taxpayer’s funded it and nothing has changed. These are the facts and as such, the truth.

  29. @tamarac talk says:

    Sharon I know you want to believe you are doing the right thing, but you have crossed a line from journalist to activist and as such you lost credibility. Comments on this blog prove it. I hope you’re at least getting paid to cash in your credibility.

  30. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @20 – Even if the recall gets quashed by a judge, it’s going to effectively spread the word about Atkins-Grad and thus politically weaken her so that she comes up for re-election with memories of her disgraceful actions strong & fresh in many voters’ minds. Then at election time, complete the task of cleaning Tamarac’s house by hanging Talabisco and Glasser around the neck of the disgraced Atkins-Grad and urging voters to sweep them all away with the same broom.

  31. @29 says:

    @29. I look forward to the recall committee and their alies using the same ECOs (probably through the same Barry Harris) and other “corrupt funds” to launch these attacks on those candidates. Hypocrisy at its finest!

  32. Real Deal says:

    Apologies to Mayor Schriber for confusing him with somebody else.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Remember when Sharon/Tamarac Talk was on a jihad to remove Republican Tom Lauder from the School Board Diversity Committee?

    She was referring to him as a bully, harasser, anti woman, totally unworthy of being on a Diversity Committee

    So why then on November 28, 2012 did she withdraw her objection to Mr. Lauder saying…

    1) She rescinded her email asking you to look into the bullying of Katie Leach appointee Tom Lauder.

    2) She states that she discussed this issue with Abby Freedman yesterday and found out that Tom Lauder and her have worked out their issues

    3) She states Tom (Lauder) is a very talented writer.

    4) I feel he (Lauder) is an asset to our school board and should stay on our diversity committee,

  34. Tamarac Truth speaks the truth says:

    You are oh so right, especially about the Lieberman connection and Satz’s selective enforcement of laws.

    Why did Satz let the Chaits, known felons, thugs, bribers and perjurers, walk, only to go after the small potatoes while turning a deaf ear to the really culpable ones (Lieberman and her cabal). Yes, Liebermans husband did do work for the Chaits. Yes, Lieberman did engineer the whole ECO to help get her buddy Beth elected, only to turn on her when it was convenient.

    But the most egregious of all is the involvement of Lieberman’s and Chaits’ bag lady, Bev Stracher, who got tens of thousands from the Chaits to do their dirty work, at the behest of Lieberman, who then turns around and hires her on the taxpayers dime, to work as her aide at an inflated salary. Both Stracher and Lieberman walk away scot free, (immunity?) when they were both as involved with the Chaits as could be. As Buddy would say, hmmmmm.

  35. SharonAronBaron next commissioner? says:

    One has to wonder what’s in it for SharonAronBaron anyway. Is she planning on running for Patte’s seat once she gets her removed? I know the commission appoints someone until their next election, but I for one would not be surprised to see her name on the ballot in Tamarac in 2014. Anyone want to take bets on this?

  36. Pot Kettle Black says:

    I saw Alvin Entin whining about this evil blog and its anonymous posters on facebook. Specifically saying he was frustrated his post defending Sharon and Barry Harris was not put up by Buddy yet.

    So if I had to guess, looking at the posts by “Recall Committee Member” it could be Alvin Entin. So Mr. Entin if you are writing on here as Recall Committee Member, please how awful this blog is for permitting anonymous postings when it appears in comparing your own facebook posts that you yourself may be an anonymous poster on here.

    Typical of the Committee, do as I say not as I do mentality.