By: Sharon Aron Baron
Patte Atkins-Grad released her 200-word statement on Monday, saying she is innocent of all charges, and there is no justification for a recall.
In her most blatant dismissal of wrongdoing, Atkins-Grad never denies taking the money for a BMW and a victory party, yet puts herself in the same caliber of fellow commissioners who also voted for the Chaits’ land deal. However, they were not enriched with luxurious gifts.
“Patte Atkins Grad has availed herself of her right to make a 200-word statement,” said Recall Organizer Alvin Entin. “This statement says three things: she was acquitted, everybody else voted for the zoning project, and the election will be costly. Unfortunately, the devil is in the details. Once again, given the opportunity, she does not deny taking a car and cash. The fact that others voted similarly is no justification.”
Atkins-Grad was found not guilty on corruption charges due to reasonable doubt in December, but according to her statement, she boasts she is innocent of all charges. However, she never denied taking a bribe for the BMW and the party.
According to Michael Mayo’s column in the Sun-Sentinel, two jurors who acquitted her say they had a reasonable doubt about her guilt, but both had the same advice for her: Give up politics.
Juror Shirley Blands said: “If I could convict a person for being stupid, she’d be at the top of my list…If I was her, I wouldn’t go back [to politics]. It’s not for her. She should take her life in another direction.”
Round two of the recall will start within days, where volunteers will need over 1,800 signatures to finish the process. A special election will cost taxpayers $65-$75,000, according to Atkins-Grad. “No amount of money is too much to pay to remove the stench of corruption from City Hall,” said Entin.
Patte Atkins-Grad’s Statement in Response to the Recall
The allegations presented here by Patte’s political opponents have been consistently and vigorously denied by Patte. The trial jury that considered them after a week of testimony found Patte innocent of all charges in less than an hour. And do you really believe that the winning defense was that Patte was too stupid to know she was being bribed, as the Recall Committee claims?
This jury said there is no evidence wrongdoing occurred; that there was no corruption, bribe, nor any improper conduct as you are being asked to believe. In the Recall Committee’s perverted view of Justice, “Patte is guilty until proven innocent.” Can anyone prove something didn’t happen? Just consider her actions and her words: they do not reflect improper influence. She never promoted the project, spoke on its behalf, or showed the Chaits preferential treatment. All votes on the project were 5-0. We are being asked to believe that the motive for 4 votes was the public’s best interest, while the same vote by Patte was due to corruption. Nonsense! Bottom Line: There is no evidence of improper conduct, no justification for a recall. Cost of a Special election: $65-$75,000 paid for Tamarac Residents.