Former Tamarac Mayor Found Not Guilty on all Charges

Talabisco after hearing the verdict

Talabisco after hearing the verdict – photos by Sharon Aron Baron

 

By: Sharon Aron Baron

The four year long ordeal has ended for former Mayor Beth Talabisco on Wednesday after she was found not guilty on all counts on charges of corruption.

The jury took less than two hours to return their verdict after the week-long trial.

Talabisco, was accused of knowingly accepting financial campaign assistance for a poll and mailers from land developers Bruce and Shawn Chait during her 2006 campaign for mayor which distributed negative campaign information about the other two candidates. Then, ten days after taking office voting in favor of the Chaits land project.

Attorney Larry Davis comforting Talabisco before closing arguments

Attorney Larry Davis comforting Talabisco before closing arguments

The project was turning the Sabal Palm and Monterey golf courses in Tamarac into a housing project complete with single-family homes, town homes and parks.

Prosecutor Catherine Maus told the jury that when Talabisco declined to file the voting conflict, she neglected to say that she received a benefit that got her elected. “By not telling them, she was depriving them of that information.”

Attorney Larry Davis told the jury, “Beth voted for the project for the merits of the project itself.”

The deal passed in the commission 5-0.

In 2011, Talabisco, 62, was suspended as mayor after being charged with unlawful compensation, bribery, official misconduct and conspiracy to commit unlawful compensation. In 2012, Judge Cynthia Imperato dismissed the public corruption charges against her citing a lack of evidence. Shortly thereafter, Governor Rick Scott restored her to office.

Friend Michele Mellgren hugs Beth Talabisco after the trial.

Friend Michele Mellgren hugs Beth Talabisco after the trial.

Then in July of 2013, the Fourth District Court of Appeal decided that Judge Imperato was out of line when she threw out the case, causing the charges to be reinstated. After the State’s Supreme Court refused to hear her case, the Governor suspended her from office for a second time.

Davis showed the jury a list of the politicians that received money or goods from the Chaits like former Broward Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion, Former School Board Member Stephanie Kraft, City Commissioner Mark Sultanof, Former Commissioner Patte Atkins-Grad and even former Coral Springs Mayor Scott Brook, but said that Talabisco didn’t receive anything material in return, except a poll and an ECO or electioneering committee piece.

Davis pointed out that the Chaits only received four years probation and after two years they received administrative probation.

“I think there is no doubt in our minds that the Chaits are corrupt. They are dirty, and they bribe people, but they aren’t on trial here, their intents or motives shouldn’t be the focus here.”

About Sharon Aron Baron

Sharon Aron Baron Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Tamarac Talk and Coral Springs Talk. Tamarac Talk was created in 2010 to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Tamarac and to give resident's a forum. We are not affiliated with the City of Tamarac. That's why this site can be occasionally opinionated and obviously open.

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  • Jeanne M.

    Once in a rare while, there is justice. Congratulations to Beth, we’re so very happy for her!

    • commenter8

      Uh, no we aren’t! Talabisco belongs in prison, with Glasser as her cellmate.

      • Jeanne M.

        Then maybe the prosecution should have put up something even remotely resembling evidence. I was in the courtroom for the entire time, and it wasn’t even close.

        • commenter8

          The State Attorney’s Public Corruption Unit is full of incompetent prosecutors, for sure. That doesn’t mean Talabisco doesn’t belong in prison (along with Glasser).

    • Cyndy B

      As am I! Congratulations to Beth, Jack and their families. It’s been a long, rough road, however, justice won out! Cyndy B

  • kahuna

    Congratulations to Beth. Too bad she’s had to go through all this anguish. It’s Atkins-Grad that should be in jail. Her getting off on a “stupidity” claim is an injustice.

  • JUROR

    Maybe if there was more evidence presented, I (AN ACTUAL JUROR ON THIS CASE) and the other 5 people who deliberated with me, would have found her guilty. When the system works the way it is supposed to, people call jurors idiots. Learn something, we are all well educated professionals who made the ONLY decision that could be made in this case by rendering a FAIR and JUST verdict in the case against Mrs. Talabisco. Please, think before making comments on subjects which you know nothing about!

    • Jeanne M.

      Very well stated! The prosecutor had nothing in the way of evidence, and that’s what she presented – nothing!

  • Joe Morguess

    The cover photo showing her relief after years of suffering is extraordinary.

    • Thanks Joe. Tamarac Talk was the only photographer covering the event during the verdict.

      • Jose

        Yeah now the city can pay 400,000 in legal fees. Great, she belongs in prison

  • Bob Thumudo

    If the state wrongfully charged Mrs. Talabisco, and she beat the charges, in court, ” why is Tamarac paying her legal fee’s ” ?? Shouldn’t she be going after the state, for those fee’s ? They were the ones that charged her ! Why is it the city’s responsibility ?