Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie hid $335,000, charges allege

Article Courtesy of The Sun Sentinel

By Skyler Swisher and Tonya Alanez

Published April 27, 2018


Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie lied about money she took from developers and hid more than $335,000 in income, according to criminal charges filed Tuesday.

Charged with four felonies and three misdemeanors, Haynie, 62, faces 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.

Acting on complaints, prosecutors began their investigation of Haynie the same month she was elected mayor of Boca Raton, according to a 10-page arrest report. The investigation spanned from March 2014 through 2017.

Prosecutors subpoenaed bank records from an account held jointly by Haynie and her husband, Neil Haynie.

Haynie was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail on Tuesday and released late that night. Reporters approached her, but Haynie didn’t comment. Haynie’s attorney, Leonard Feuer, told reporters his client is innocent.

Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie: From election triumph to corruption charges.


“We look forward to challenging these accusations, and that’s all they are right now — just accusations,” Feuer said. “In court, everything will come out, and I believe at the end of the day she will be fully vindicated.”

The news of Haynie’s arrest stunned City Hall.

“We’re all shocked out of our seats,” said Boca Council member Andrea O’Rourke, referring to Haynie’s charges. “What we have is a lack of judgment and the erosion of trust.”

City Manager Leif Ahnell said Haynie had phoned earlier Tuesday to say she was sick, so she wasn’t expected to attend a public meeting Tuesday night.

Haynie’s arrest report shows she didn’t disclose $335,018 in income from her husband’s company and from real estate they owned from 2014 through 2017. The undisclosed totals amounted to $73,099.90 in 2014; $128,080 in 2015; $85,940 in 2016 and $47,899 in 2017.

The report also alleged Haynie voted favorably on issues that would benefit developer James Batmasian and failed to disclose income she received from him while conducting business with him and his companies through Community Reliance, a property management company she owned with her husband.

Haynie was listed as a managing member of the company’s LLC in 2014 and 2015, but only her husband was listed in 2016 and 2017.

She told an investigator that she had not received any income at all from Community Reliance between 2012 and 2016. But bank records showed that Haynie wrote two checks to herself from that company’s bank account, one for $1,500 on March 14, 2016, and one for $3,800 on May 26, 2016.

She also claimed to have not received any secondary sources of income, but records showed she received approximately $72,600 from Computer Golf Software of Nevada Inc., a company owned by her husband.

An investigator said Susan Haynie was a beneficial owner of accounts linked to Community Reliance and Computer Golf Software. “Haynie regularly wrote checks from all of the accounts, using funds to pay personal and professional bills as well as to pay herself an income,” the investigator wrote in the complaint.

Haynie’s arrest comes after documents were released last week showing that she agreed to settle an ethics case. A county ethics commission’s concerns stemmed from financial ties between Community Reliance and Investments Limited.

Haynie didn’t properly disclose a conflict of interest with James and Marta Batmasian, the owners of Investments Limited, a major commercial property owner in town.

Community Reliance did thousands of dollars in business with the Batmasians while Haynie cast votes benefiting their developments, records show.

The mayor agreed to pay a $500 fine and accept a public reprimand as a negotiated settlement.

Haynie, a Republican candidate for County Commission, said she thought the votes were proper when she made them because of advice she received from the city attorney.

“This was unintentional on my behalf,” Haynie told the South Florida Sun Sentinel last week. “This is a process that has certainly made me a better elected official as far as making certain that I am following the code.”

On Monday, Haynie recused herself from a city discussion over private parking involving Batmasian-owned properties.

In such cases where elected officials are arrested, the governor typically suspends them. But that’s usually a day or two after they are arrested.

The city manager said the city didn’t know whether the mayor would resign. “We do not have a letter of resignation,” Ahnell said.

Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie is accused of: Three counts of official misconduct for allegedly falsifying financial disclosure forms for 2014, 2015 and 2016 by not revealing compensation she received from James and Marta Batmasian and their businesses.