Boca mayor says she disclosed ties publicly but she didn’t name names


Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie says that her financial ties to developer James Batmasian have not been secret and that she disclosed them to the public in a city meeting.

On Friday, for the first time, she said when that meeting was.

Haynie has taken a dozen votes on proposals brought to the city by Batmasian. At the same time, her property management firm was collecting thousands in paychecks from a company controlled by Batmasian and his wife, Marta.

Haynie said she made her disclosure during a meeting on Nov. 22, 2011, when she recused herself from voting on a project proposed by Batmasian.

But Haynie said nothing in detail about her conflict.

Batmasian was proposing an upscale 7-Eleven on the city’s barrier island.

As it came up, Haynie said: “Due to a potential voting conflict I’m going to recuse myself from this issue. The city attorney can further elaborate on the discussions that I’ve had with her. She’s confirmed that there’s no conflict under state law, but was unable to have direct discussion with the county’s ethics individuals.”

City Attorney Diana Frieser elaborated on ethics rules but also did not name Haynie’s firm or disclose that it was the Batmasians’ company which did business with it.

Frieser said she’d spoken with state ethics officials and had done research and felt “very confident that it is not a conflict.”

She added that she wasn’t able to reach county ethics attorneys to ask about the matter.

“I don’t know if it’s the holidays or getting ready for the next meeting, but we have not been able to make that contact,” Frieser said.

However a personal memo filed by Frieser and obtained by The Post, says she had indeed spoken to the county ethics attorney. The ethics attorney told Frieser that the commission would “likely find no voting conflict” but would like to take the issue to them.

Frieser’s memo was dated the same day as the meeting.

It details by name Haynie’s property management firm and its work for the company controlled by the Batmasians.

It wasn’t until two years later that Frieser asked for an opinion on Haynie’s behalf. The 2013 request does not identify Haynie, the Batmasians or their businesses, an uncommon move that one ethics commissioner questioned.

In paperwork that elected officials must file with the county when they recuse themselves from a vote, Haynie did not detail the nature of her relationship with Batmasian.

She wrote when she abstained from voting in 2011 that she had a “potential conflict regarding a contractual relationship with the applicant.”



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