Article Courtesy of The
By Anne Geggis
Published August 11, 2018
A special election for mayor and a council seat in
Boca Raton after Mayor Susan Haynie’s arrest on corruption charges and
suspension from office could change the direction of development in the
All of the city’s
registered voters are eligible to choose the next mayor and
Seat A council representative on Aug. 28.
For mayor, they will
choose from Scott Singer, 41, an attorney who slid into the
mayor’s chair from his council seat because of his position
as deputy mayor; Alfred “Al” Zucaro, 69, an attorney
associated with the gadfly website “BocaWatch” who lost a
mayoral contest with Haynie last year; and Bernard Korn, a
real estate agent who has never run for office.
After Boca mayor's arrest, a new push is on to scale back
downtown building heights
Running to succeed Singer in Seat A are Kathryn “Kathy”
Cottrell, 60, a semi-retired consultant; Tamara McKee, 48,
an actress and producer; and Andy Thomson, 35, an attorney
who lost his bid for a council seat last year.
Boca Raton voters will choose a new mayor and council
member in a special election on Aug. 28.
Haynie has not officially resigned as mayor. Gov.
Rick Scott suspended her from office a few days after her arrest on
three counts of official misconduct, and single counts of perjury in an
official proceeding, misuse of public office, corrupt misuse of public
office and failure to disclose a voting conflict. The winner in the
mayoral contest would fill out the remainder of Haynie’s term — until
2020 — or Haynie could be reinstated to her term if she were exonerated
of the charges. The Seat A term also goes until 2020.
Singer, who has served on the council since 2014, was among the first to
call for Haynie’s resignation.
“Now more than ever, we need experience and continuity in our elected
leadership and a leader who considers the views of all residents and
charts a vision for success,” he said.
But Zucaro, who lost to Haynie last year, says Singer’s votes match
nearly all of Haynie’s — and he represents the agenda that has resulted
in the large-scale development that has sprouted in Boca’s downtown in
“He is doing what the developers want,” Zucaro said, pointing to
Singer’s list of contributors that includes high-profile development
attorneys and companies that have advocated for high-density downtown
projects. “We have … thousands of units because of his votes.”
Singer, however, says he’s the resident-friendly candidate, pointing to
his recent vote against the massive Midtown development that would put
shops, restaurants and up to 2,500 apartments or condos off Military
Trail near the Town Center mall.
“There are too many unanswered questions about traffic, transportation
and getting people across Military Trail,” Singer said.
Zucaro has advocated for settling with the developers now suing over the
City Council’s “no” on Midtown.
“There’s way too much at risk for the city of Boca Raton,” Zucaro said.
He contends limiting the development to 600 units would be reasonable
and prevent lawyers’ fees from piling up.
Singer said contributions to his campaign show his supporters are drawn
from a wide swath of people with interests in the city, and it’s
Zucaro’s supporters that residents should wonder about.
Singer has filed two complaints with the Florida Election Commission,
one against Zucaro personally and the other against the nonprofit
BocaWatch, for which Zucaro is the sole registered agent and director,
according to state records. Singer alleges BocaWatch is operating as an
unregistered political committee in support of Zucaro, with unknown
“Zucaro has been using BocaWatch as an arm of his campaign, so it’s
acting as an unregistered political committee,” Singer said, pointing to
website ads that haven’t shown up as in-kind donations. “BocaWatch is a
way to hide the sources of campaign funding and our residents have a
right to know what special interests are bankrolling his political
Zucaro said BocaWatch is financed by advertisements for his law office
paid through his office. The complaint arrived few days ago, Zucaro
said, and he’s allowed a chance to respond to Singer’s allegations
before it becomes an official investigation.
“I don’t want to see this city go down in a black hole,” he said.
“Traffic is miserable and have you read [about] the suit with the
Crocker Partners, [developers of Midtown]? The city may find itself
going into bankruptcy. It’s a disaster.”
Boca developers unveil Midtown plan to build at least 1,300 apartments
near Town Center mall
Neither candidate feels the need to address Korn, a real estate agent
who qualified for the mayor’s race. Voting records show he only
registered to vote in Boca Raton in April, and he has never voted in a
Palm Beach County election. Rules require office-holders to live in the
city, and Korn’s homesteaded house is outside the city limits, in
unincorporated Palm Beach County. But he said that’s where his
soon-to-be-ex-wife lives. He says reports about his questionable
residency in Boca Raton are “fake news.”
“Boca Raton is where I live and where I’m going to die,” he said. “I
bought five plots at Boca Memorial Gardens.”
Korn, who has acknowledged filing to be a candidate for U.S. president,
said he decided to run for mayor reluctantly. He was not available for
follow-up questions from the Sun Sentinel.
Thomson, an attorney, is trying for the second time to win a seat on the
council after losing to Councilwoman Andrea O’Rourke last year.
“With my legal and traffic planning background, I have the professional
experience to help solve the city’s issues,” Thomson said. “… I see
disputes as opportunities to bring people closer and work
collaboratively toward a solution.”
One concrete idea he has for addressing downtown traffic and inviting
more strolling: Turn Dixie Highway into a downtown bypass and slow down
traffic on Federal Highway.
With endorsements from the city’s chamber of commerce and the public
safety unions, along with donations from developers such as Derek Vander
Ploeg and Jamie Danburg, he’s the clear favorite of the city’s
establishment. But he says he’s garnered support from all parts of the
Councilwoman Andrea O’Rourke has endorsed Cottrell. If elected,
Cottrell, O’Rourke and Councilwoman Monica Mayotte, who is also aligned
with O’Rourke, could form a three-vote council majority that has not
received the blessing of the development community — a first in many
Cottrell said her campaign is focused on quality of life issues. She got
involved in working for the 2016 referendum that turned the site of the
former Wildflower night club into a public park.
A city bike program, Uber/Lyft pick-up areas and better timing on
traffic lights are some of the ways she sees to address the city’s
“I believe my actions over the past several years in attending most all
council, CRA [Community Redevelopment Agency] and workshop meetings, as
well as the quality of my volunteer work show that I am more vested and
committed to serving this city and to understanding the issues important
to the residents,” she said.
Cottrell, the only Boca native in the race, graduated from Boca Raton
High School but has voted in only one city election.
McKee says she is the only candidate with actual experience doing what
the City Council does — acting in a quasi-judicial role, crafting rules
and overseeing discipline under the state’s open-government laws. She
was a two-time Gov. Rick Scott appointee to the Florida Real Estate
She pledged to improve traffic in the first 60 days if she’s elected.
One way to do that is improve traffic light synchronicity, she said.
“When I’m elected, I will hit the ground running, represent all of
Boca’s residents, and restore trust and improve traffic in my first 60
days,” she said.
She is also one of 12 founding members of the current Boca Raton High
School Parent-Teacher Association. She wants to appoint a City Council
member to act as liaison to the School Board to properly address Boca’s
school overcrowding situation. She would also ask for equalizing fire
fees between residential homes and businesses.