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.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Cruiser camera catches house explosion in Texas
Cruiser camera catches house explosion in Texas

A police cruiser camera caught footage of a house explosion in Texas after the driver of a car lost control and hit the house and struck a gas line on April 7. The newly released dash-cam footage from the Hurst Police Department captured the exact moment when the house burst into flames, sending police officers scrambling for their lives. Officer Travis...
Human Rights Campaign: Pence ‘one of the greatest threats to equality’
Human Rights Campaign: Pence ‘one of the greatest threats to equality’

WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign on Thursday called Vice President Mike Pence “one of the greatest threats to equality in the history of our movement,” highlighting his record on issues important to the LGBTQ community. The gay rights organization argues Pence has taken advantage of the chaos of the Trump administration...
Investigators: Florida police officer met women in parks while on duty
Investigators: Florida police officer met women in parks while on duty

Investigators in northeast Florida said an officer with the New Smyrna Beach Police Department was meeting women in public parks while he was on duty. Officer Beau Estrada resigned in January while the internal investigation into his activities was going on. Investigators got a tip from a citizen who claimed he saw the officer having sex on the job...
Trump in Palm Beach: President heads to Key West
Trump in Palm Beach: President heads to Key West

Good morning. It’s 63 degrees in Palm Beach under party cloudy skies with a high of 85 degrees expected. Here’s a look at Mar-a-Lago. The president will not be golfing today, but instead will depart for Key West at about 10:50 a.m. to tour a federal anti-drug trafficking agency near the Truman Waterfront on Navy property, a Navy spokeswoman...
Woman chasing dog in parking lot killed by armored truck on 22nd birthday
Woman chasing dog in parking lot killed by armored truck on 22nd birthday

A California woman chasing her dog in a San Diego shopping center was killed Tuesday after she was hit by an armored truck, KNSD reported.  Mikaela Jones was chasing her dog, who had gotten away from her, at the La Jolla Village Shopping Center when she was hit, according to the San Diego Police Department. Tuesday was Jones’ 22nd birthday...
More Stories