Ex-Boca mayor pleads guilty in public corruption case over financial ties to real estate tycoon

Guilty plea is on two misdemeanor charges

Miami /
Apr.April 02, 2021 01:30 PM
James and Marta Batmasian with former Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie (Investments Unlimited)

James and Marta Batmasian with former Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie (Investments Unlimited)

Former Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie pleaded guilty to charges related to failure to disclose financial ties to real estate tycoon James Batmasian while she was in office.

Investigators said Haynie didn’t report more than $330,000 in earnings, with about a third of that from James and Marta Batmasian, who are major commercial property owners in Boca Raton, The Palm Beach Post reported.

Haynie, 65, entered her guilty plea on Thursday in front of Palm Beach Circuit Judge Jeffrey Gillen for two first-degree misdemeanors, one for misuse of public office and another for failure to disclose voting conflicts, according to The Post. Prosecutors dropped four felony charges for three counts of official misconduct and a count of perjury.

Haynie will not serve time in jail, but will be on probation for 12 months, during which time she is prohibited from seeking public office. She also is to pay a $1,050 fine and court costs, and complete 100 hours of community service.

Haynie is alleged to have received thousands of dollars from the Batmasians while casting votes in the family’s favor, including on issues that increased their property values, The Post reported.

Investigators also alleged she falsified financial disclosure forms from 2014 to 2016, and lied under oath to county ethics investigators about her financial ties.

Haynie’s attorney, Bruce Zimet, told The Post her vote “was never for sale or purchase.”

The former mayor said in a letter apologizing to residents that through her guilty plea, she accepted responsibility. Residents “should accept nothing less than the highest level of ethics from their elected officials,” she said in the letter, adding she failed to meet this standard, according to The Post.

Haynie, who held elected office for more than a decade, added she doesn’t plan to seek public office again.

James Batmasian has had his own run-ins with the law. In 2008 he served eight months in prison for not paying $250,000 in payroll taxes to the IRS. Former President Donald Trump in December pardoned Batmasian along with 26 others.

Among his most recent ventures in Boca Raton was the $16 million purchase of Publix-anchored West Boca Plaza at 22973-23071 State Road 7.

[The Palm Beach Post] — Lidia Dinkova





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    Sean Hannity with 9 Sloans Curve Drive (Getty, Google Maps)
    Palm Beach green-lights addition for Sean Hannity’s oceanfront townhouse
    Palm Beach green-lights addition for Sean Hannity’s oceanfront townhouse
    404 East Coconut Palm Road in Boca Raton (Google Maps, Getty)
    Waterfront Boca Raton spec mansion sells for $19M
    Waterfront Boca Raton spec mansion sells for $19M
    (Illustration by The Real Deal; Getty)
    Residential sales fall 30% across South Florida
    Residential sales fall 30% across South Florida
    (Illustration by The Real Deal; Getty)
    North Palm Beach caps height of two-story homes
    North Palm Beach caps height of two-story homes
    211 Dunbar Road (Google Maps)
    Good ROI? Wealth manager sells non-waterfront Palm Beach estate for $21M
    Good ROI? Wealth manager sells non-waterfront Palm Beach estate for $21M
    Related Companies' Stephen Ross with One Flagler, 360 Rosemary, and 515 Fern
    Mapping out Steve Ross’ South Florida empire
    Mapping out Steve Ross’ South Florida empire
    Highgate Capital Management's Mahmood Khimji and Mehdi Khimji with 5981 Okeechobee Boulevard (Highgate Capital Management, La Quinta by Wyndham)
    Highgate cashes out of another South Florida La Quinta
    Highgate cashes out of another South Florida La Quinta
    Estée Lauder and 144 Everglade Avenue (Getty, Google Maps)
    Estée Lauder’s former Palm Beach estate gets designated historic
    Estée Lauder’s former Palm Beach estate gets designated historic
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...