Former Tamarac Commissioner Rejects Plea Deal

By:  Patti Lynn

This begins the first in a series of reports from Patti Lynn who is covering the trial of Patte Atkins-Grad, the suspended Tamarac City Commissioner who is charged with eight felony charges for allegedly taking cash or gifts from father and son developers Bruce and Shawn Chait. Lynn ran against Atkins-Grad two times for the City Commission seat.

Atkins-Grad was arrested as a Commissioner back in 2010 because she failed to disclose payments for a $2,300 BMW lease and $4,000 for her victory party back in 2006 for her election as state law requires.  She has been charged with two counts each of bribery and unlawful compensation, three counts of official misconduct and one count of conspiracy to comimit unlawful compensation.

Day 1 Insight

Jury selection began on Tuesday in the matter of Florida vs Patricia Atkins-Grad. Fifty potential jurors were seated in a process that will eliminate most. The jury will be six members and one alternate.

While waiting in the hallway, Atkins-Grad saw me and told me how happy she was to see me. I ignored her. Shortly thereafter, reporter Paula McMahon, of The Sun Sentinel arrived in the hallway. Defendant Patricia Atkins-Grad greeted her, asked about children, and thanked her for her previous articles. She then asked her, “Have you met Patti Lynn? She ran against me twice for Tamarac City Commissioner.” I again remained silent, nodding briefly to the reporter.

Initially, the Court Bailiff allowed only the prosecutor, defense attorney, and the media into the courtroom. The defendant was not allowed in. Shortly thereafter, both she and her husband were permitted in. About five minutes after Atkins-Grad was let in, the public was allowed to enter.

I was the only “public” there.

That is when the prosecutor reiterated, to the judge, the plea offer of two years imprisonment. The offer was two years in a State Penitentiary, in return for a pleading of guilt. Atkins-Grad, who faces a term of from 8 to 15 years, swore that her attorney had advised her of the offer.

She rejected the offer.

By gambling two years against potentially 15 years, I believe that’s a very big risk. However, whatever her thought process is, she must think it’s a risk worth taking.

I noticed that Atkins-Grad has discontinued coloring her hair, which she had maintained during her terms as a City of Tamarac Commissioner.  In addition to her arrest and indictment, Mayor Beth Talabisco and Commissioner Marc Sultanof were also arrested and or indicted in the same incident related to a golf course zoning change.

Sultanof died prior to having his charges settled and Talabisco’s charges were dismissed in court.  There have been rumors that the State Attorney’s Office is appealing that dismissal.  We have no evidence to either prove or disprove those allegations.

Testimony is expected to begin at 1 PM, on Tuesday, December 4th, the first scheduled day of the trial.  It will continue again on Wednesday and Thursday.

No trial action will be held on Friday, December 7th.

 

About Patti Lynn

Patti Lynn has been a Broward County Resident since 1963 and a Resident of Tamarac since 2001. Retired as manager for the US Post Office, she is the mother of two children and has a grandchild. Patti is currently the President of the Broward Coalition which is a coalition of condominium associations, homeowner associations and community business organizations representing over 100,000 families in Broward County. She is also on the Board of Directors of Mainlands 8 of Tamarac Lakes 8.

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  • Br1141

    This woman is very old. I hope that if she does serve she serves very little time and is close to her husband. Keep us posted on the updates.

  • Michael

    I think Patti would be very upset about that comment about her being so old, she is not. The grey hair makes her look older, especially when she was this vibrant red head. I know Patti, she has been a guest at my house several years ago, and I don’t think she deliberately broke the law, I just think she exercised poor judgment. She was new at the job and didn’t know the ropes. She should have consulted with lawyers or other city officials who would have guided her better. There were others involved and they came out of it very well, so manybe Patti will too. I wish her luck and hope it works out for her. If she is convicted then the others involved who were also part of it should take the blame too and pay the price.

    • val1975

      Why do you think she let her self go gray if she’s not that young? Why doesn’t she stay red?

      • lil1234

        Who even cares what color her hair is?!?!? What a stupid comment to put in a report like this anyway. It has nothing to do with anything – only shows your resentment Patti Lynn – stick to the facts and let the petty stuff go 🙂