BY BUDDY NEVINS
Tamarac Commission Patricia “Patte” Atkins-Grad, who is already fighting a recall, now also faces allegations she broke state ethics laws.
The Florida Ethics Commission has scheduled a probable cause hearing July 26 concerning allegations Atkins-Grad failed to report on state financial disclosure forms the $6,300 she received from developer Shawn Chait.
The complaint was filed by blogger Chaz Stevens, who broke the story of the probable cause hearing on his website here.
“My allegation … Atkins-Grad needs to report any gift greater than $100, and that’s done via the filing of a Form 8B. Since she received the money and didn’t file, she violated (Florida law),” Stevens wrote Browardbeat.com.
Holding a probable cause hearing is a significant intermediate step in the ethics complaint process. Most complaints are tossed without holding any hearing.
If commissioners find Atkins-Grad violated state ethics laws after several more steps in the process, she would generally face a small fine.
Atkins-Grad was acquitted on charges of corruption last year for taking $6,300 from Chait. She admitted taking the gift, but didn’t know it was against the law.
Since the ethics commission allegations involve civil, not criminal, penalties, the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy does not apply.
The ethics commission action is sure to boost the recall petition drive now underway to throw Atkins Grad out of office. The drive was launched because of her admission she took money from the developer
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