NEW: Suspended Boca mayor faces fine for failing to file election form

Suspended Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie will be fined for not properly filing a form with the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections office, election supervisor Susan Bucher said.

Haynie, who withdrew from the race for Palm Beach County Commission after she was charged with public corruption, is required by law to file a termination report detailing how she spent $45,000 she’d collected in campaign donations. The form is due 90 days after withdrawal. In Haynie’s case, the form was due July 23, Bucher said.

The fine is $125, Haynie’s former campaign consultant Rick Asnani said.

The supervisor’s office received a digital copy of her report, but by law requires a signed hard copy be delivered to the office.

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“It was submitted on time electronically, but she has to submit a hard copy,” Bucher said Thursday. Haynie and Asnani sent notice of the lapsed deadline Friday.

Failing to file the form, relating to her abandoned campaign for Palm Beach County Commission, usually prompts a fine of $50 a day for three days and $500 a day thereafter, or 25 percent of the collected donations.

Haynie only collected $500 in her last round of campaign fund-raising, and disposed of the remaining campaign money, the form indicates. She will be fined 25 percent of that $500 — or $125, Asnani said.

Asnani filed the form on Haynie’s behalf online and mailed the required cover sheet with signatures, but the supervisor’s office “said they didn’t receive it,” he said.

“We spoke with our elections attorney and we believe the electronic report satisfies all requirements,” Asnani said.

Bucher said the electronic report does not satisfy the requirement. Asnani’s team brought a hard copy into the supervisor’s office Friday.

Haynie could not be reached for comment, though her criminal defense attorney Bruce Zimet said he was not aware of the matter.

The digital form Haynie filed shows she disposed of all her campaign money, part of which was returned to donors.

Haynie returned about $24,400 to donors pro rata. She returned about 40 percent of the original donation to each donor, campaign records show.

According to the report, she spent the remaining money on:

  • Paying $16,700 to campaign consultant Rick Asnani’s business, Cornerstone Solutions;
  • Paying $4,000 to Boca Raton digital campaign strategist Craig Agranoff;
  • Repaying herself $500 that she’d previously loaned to her campaign;
  • And $140 on office supplies.

When a candidate withdraws, becomes unopposed or is eliminated from a race, the candidate must dispose of remaining campaign monies by: buying thank you notes for donors, paying remaining campaign obligations, returning it to campaign donors, donating it to a charitable organization or donating no more than $25,000 of it to a political committee or party.

Haynie was charged with four felonies and three misdemeanors in April. A State Attorney’s Office Public Corruption Unit investigation alleges Haynie failed to disclose $335,000 in earnings on mandatory state forms. About a third of the income came from Boca Raton developers James and Marta Batmasian while Haynie voted at least four times on projects that benefited the Batmasians.

The Palm Beach Post in November identified a dozen votes Haynie took on projects benefiting the Batmasians, the largest commercial land owners in the city, while she and her husband had financial ties to the couple.

Gov. Rick Scott suspended Haynie from office three days after she turned herself into the Palm Beach County Jail.

Haynie pleaded not guilty to the charges and filed a motion to dismiss them all.

Follow Boca Raton reporter Lulu Ramadan on Twitter at @luluramadan.

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