Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie arrested on felony charges of official misconduct

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By: Marisa Herman
Associate Editor

Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie was booked into Palm Beach County Jail Tuesday night after she was charged with official misconduct, perjury in an official proceeding, misuse of public office and corrupt misuse of public office, according to an arrest report.

Total, she faces seven charges— some felony charges.

The 10-page arrest report documents an investigation that dates back to 2014. That is when Haynie was elected mayor of the city.

Her arrest comes days after she was fined $500 and reprimanded by the Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics in a negotiated settlement.

She said Monday during a city meeting she would discuss the settlement during Tuesday’s meeting. She was not present at the council meeting Tuesday.

Hours after turning herself in, she left the jail with her attorney Leonard S. Feuer. She remained quiet while news reporters asked questions.

Her attorney addressed the crowd after she was released. Her bail was listed as $12,000.

“Mayor Haynie is innocent of these 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 ethics board found that she voted on projects that her family was receiving money from. The conflict was between Boca developer James Batmasian and the Haynies.

Haynie voted on multiple projects that benefited Batmasian without disclosing the business link between her and Batmasian, according to both investigations, ethics and criminal. She cited a county ethics ruling and the advice of the city attorney for not filling out the proper disclosure forms.

The ethics investigation and the criminal investigation focus on a property management firm founded by Haynie and her husband Neil and Investments Limited, which is owned by Batmasian.

She is charged with three counts of official misconduct for “knowingly and intentionally” falsifying her financial interests forms for 2014, 2015 and 2016 for “omitting the fact that she was being compensated by James and Marta Batmasian and their business,” the arrest report states.

She is charged with perjury in an official proceeding where the report states she gave false information under oath on Jan. 17.

Haynie swore under oath her husband was not paid for work he did installing surveillance cameras on the Batmasian’s property while Marta Batmasian said he did and was paid for the work, according to the probable cause affidavit.

The other charges of misuse of public office, corrupt misuse of official position and disclosure of voting conflicts all relate to the same relationship between Community Reliance and Investments Limited. The report highlights four votes Haynie made on Batmasian projects. One in 2016 and three in 2017.

The report states in 2016, the Haynies’ business received $77,843 and $38,835 in 2016 from the Batmasians.

Investigators subpoenaed bank records from accounts Haynie shared with her husband. Between 2014-2017, the report states she received personal checks from outside businesses totaling $225,931.

It is unclear if she will resign from her post as mayor, but she has withdrawn as a candidate for Palm Beach County Commission.