breaking news

Another woman alleges sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh during college years

Boca Mayor Susan Haynie’s next criminal hearing could yield trial date

A hearing that might yield a trial date in the corruption case against suspended Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie is scheduled for July 26 as the State Attorney’s Office mounts a case with several witnesses, including the developers at the center of her scandal.

Judge Glenn Kelley set the July status hearing to check on the progress of the case during a period that allows parties to negotiate a plea deal or decide to head to trial. It isn’t clear if Haynie, 62, will appear in court for the hearing. She was absent from her June 19 hearing, according to court records.

Haynie has pleaded not guilty to four felonies and three misdemeanors, stemming from allegations she and her husband, Neil Haynie, collected $335,000 in unreported income during her two-term tenure as mayor. About one-third of the earnings allegedly came from Boca Raton developer duo James and Marta Batmasian while Haynie voted on projects that benefited the couple.

» BOCA RATON READERS: Sign up for The Post’s weekly Boca newsletter here

Both James and Marta Batmasian are on the state’s lengthy witness list, according to discovery documents filed by the State Attorney’s Office.

Also on the civilian witness list:

- Susan Haynie’s husband, Neil.

- Ann Waller, Scott Lawson and Barbara Kenney, employees of the Batmasians’ business Investments Limited.

- Al Zucaro, who unsuccessfully ran for mayor against Haynie in 2017.

- Frank Chapman, an attorney and Zucaro ally who reported Haynie’s business interests to the state attorney last year.

- Corey Bryant, whose address is listed as a Batmasian-owned property in Deerfield Beach.

Prosecutors also are calling Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics investigator Abigail Irizarry and Florida Ethics Commission investigator Ron Moalli as expert witnesses. Both agencies launched probes into Haynie’s unreported business interests. The county ethics agency fined and reprimanded Haynie two weeks before she was criminally charged. It isn’t clear if the state investigation is ongoing, but criminal cases typically supersedes an ethics queries.

Some of the witnesses, including Marta Batmasian and some of her employees, were questioned by ethics investigators last fall in interviews that are now public. The investigators’ questions were aimed at exploring the connection between Haynie and the Batmasians, the largest commercial land owners in the city.

The Palm Beach Post reported on Haynie’s financial ties to the couple in November, revealing that Haynie had been quietly collecting money from a company controlled by the Batmasians while voting on projects the couple proposed to the city council.

The state attorney’s case against Haynie also includes scores of subpoenaed bank records, ethics investigation reports, property records, emails, corporate records, Boca Raton City Council meeting minutes and recorded statements, discovery documents show.

» Click here for the latest stories from Boca Raton

Haynie’s attorney, Bruce Zimet, did not immediately respond to a phone call. Zimet previously told The Palm Beach Post that Haynie intends to fight the charges.

Haynie, a Republican seven times elected to office in 17 years, filed a motion to dismiss all seven charges, in part because a state law that governs public corruption changed in 2016.

Haynie faces three felony charges of official misconduct, which allege that Haynie breached the public trust by falsifying mandatory state documents. Haynie is accused of not accurately reporting earnings in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The Palm Beach Post reported in November  that Haynie did not report certain earnings on the state forms.

But the state law changed in 2016. Where it once required the state prove an elected official acted with “corrupt intent,” it now requires only that an elected official “knowingly and intentionally” committed the crime.

Haynie’s motion argues that the state attorney did not sufficiently prove “corrupt intent” in the charging documents. Court documents show the judge hasn’t yet ruled on Haynie’s motion to dismiss.

Gov. Rick Scott suspended Haynie from office three days after she was criminally charged. The city is holding a special election in August to replace the embattled mayor.

Follow Delray Beach reporter Lulu Ramadan on Twitter at @luluramadan

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

West Palm church rally joins nationwide action against gun violence
West Palm church rally joins nationwide action against gun violence

Around a hundred souls packed the Greater Antioch Missionary Baptist Church Sunday to join a nationwide call for laws to stop gun violence. The event, part of the third annual Concert Across America to End Gun Violence, began shortly after 4 p.m. in the city’s Pleasant City neighborhood, a section of town all too familiar with gun crimes. This...
Tiger Woods: Some fun facts to know
Tiger Woods: Some fun facts to know

Tiger Woods ended a five-year victory drought when he won the Tour Championship on Sunday. >> Read more trending news  By finishing two shots ahead of Billy Horschel with a 1-over-par 71 and an 11-under-par 269 for the tournament, Woods earned his 80th career win on the PGA Tour, second only behind Sam Snead’s 82. It was Woods&rsquo...
BREAKING: Belle Glade man killed in one-car wreck
BREAKING: Belle Glade man killed in one-car wreck

A man was killed when his vehicle went out of control and slammed into a palm tree on Saturday evening, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. Delga Yoelvy, 44, was driving northbound on Main Street when he lost control of his Nissan Titan. The vehicle ended up in the median before sliding sideways. According to the sheriff&rsquo...
NEW: Man struck and killed by vehicle in suburban West Palm Beach
NEW: Man struck and killed by vehicle in suburban West Palm Beach

A pedestrian was killed when he was hit by a vehicle on Friday night in suburban West Palm Beach, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. Darryl Knight, 51, of suburban West Palm was killed when he was hit by a Nissan Versa at the intersection of Okeechobee Boulevard and Donnell Road, just north of the Westgate neighborhood...
JUST IN: One dead, two injured in wreck on Beeline Highway
JUST IN: One dead, two injured in wreck on Beeline Highway

One person was killed and two others injured in a two-vehicle accident Saturday night at the intersection of Beeline Highway and PGA Boulevard in suburban Palm Beach Gardens. Zackery Rodriguez, 20, of Loxahatchee was killed when he attempted to turn left off PGA onto Beeline on a red signal, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office...
More Stories