BY BUDDY NEVINS
An ethics complaint has been filed against Democratic State Sen. Maria Sachs alleging she lied and falsified public documents when she swore she lived in her district.
Sachs is perhaps the most egregious example of an office holder who ignores the law by not living where they are supposed to live.
Sachs has apparently never lived in her district!
She has flouted the Florida Constitution her entire career in the Legislature, according to several different media investigations over many years.
In 2008 when in the Florida House, Sachs claimed to live in a duplex in downtown Delray Beach. The Sun-Sentinel found she lived instead in a $1.5 million house in west Boca Raton.
From 2010-2012, she was a senator. Again, she claimed to live where she didn’t. This time her residence, she swore, was in a small Delray Beach office with state Rep. Lori Berman, another Democrat.
After reapportionment in 2012, Sachs claimed to live in a home co-owned by lobbyist Judy Stern in Fort Lauderdale.
Mediatrackers.com’ Tom Lauder and then Channel 10’s Bob Norman found that Sachs still lived in Boca Raton.
It is not that Sachs can’t represent Fort Lauderdale by living in Boca Raton. They have pretty much the same issues.
It is that Sachs is an unmitigated liar who disregards the law and the Florida Constitution.
The state Ethics Commission?
I predict they will pass the buck to the Senate to police Sachs.
Here is where it gets interesting.
The politically powerful state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, apparently has political reasons for opposing Sachs. Latvala has a lot of clout among the other Republican Senate leaders.
Using the ethics complaint, Latvala will have a receptive audience in the Senate to do something about Sachs’ lying.
The Senate is a body controlled by Republicans. They have no love for Sachs, who won a seat from another Republican – Ellyn Bogdanoff.
And Latvala is in a key position to make trouble for Sachs. He is chair of the Senate Ethics Committee.
There is more and it involves Senate politics. According to a report in The Miami Herald, Bogdanoff ”is expected to seek a re-match” with Sachs. If elected, Bogdanoff’s vote “could be a crucial one” in Latvala’s 2016 race for Senate president.
Latvala is thought to be in a tie for votes against Sen. Joe Negron, R-Palm City, states the Herald.
Latvala has already attacked Sachs’ residency once in the Spring during confirmation hearings for Stern’s daughter, Barbra, who was seeking Senate approval for an appointment to the Florida Elections Commission.
Any Senate probe of Sachs won’t come a minute too soon.
Her continued violations of the Senate residency laws – living in Boca Raton while claiming residence in Fort Lauderdale — is just one more reason why so many are cynical about politicians.
Letter sent to state Ethics Commission (click to enlarge):