Photos from Tamarac City Hall on Wednesday. More on Flickr.
By: Sharon Aron Baron
In her final two days, the walls of desperation must have been surrounding Tamarac City Commissioner Patte Atkins-Grad, convincing residents to sign petitions to recall her from office.
But it was too late for her. Atkins-Grad burned so many bridges with friends and neighbors that once staunch allies who tried reasoning with her to resign with some measure of dignity had lost all hope when their words fell on deaf ears.
Petitions were turned into Interim City Clerk Pat Teufel at Tamarac City Hall Late Wednesday afternoon by recall organizers, including Attorney Alvin Entin, who submitted the packet with 1,468 signatures, almost 20 percent more than needed and two days earlier than the 30 required days.
The Commissioner who allegedly failed to disclose or report the fact that developers Bruce and Shawn Chait not only paid for her election victory party but provided her with over $6,000 to lease a BMW never disclosed any of this before or after voting in favor of the Chaits on zoning matters before the City Commission. Her vote was worth millions of dollars to the Chaits and was bitterly opposed by many Tamarac citizens.
Atkins-Grad told her constituents that a new election would cost taxpayers $200,000 according to her new website TamaracTruth.com and in fliers that were distributed at the Woodlands Country Club Annual Association meeting on Wednesday. At the City Commission meeting last night, she was corrected when based on prior special district elections, the cost was more in line with $60,000. Nevertheless, Atkins-Grad stuck with her $200,000 figure and read the following written statement:
“I’m insulted by those by those of you that said I should step down after I’ve been acquitted….What I don’t respect are the bullying, harassment, lies and distortions about me being spread by some of my colleagues and by some of the members of the recall committee as well as the unequal treatment by the city’s police department at the annual meetings at the Woodlands Homeowner’s Association which was an obvious attempt to intimidate me into stepping down.
It’s obvious that those seeking the recall election believe I’d resign at the risk of their not being successful in their efforts. Let me be very clear now: I will not resign and I will defend myself to the fullest extent of the law.
It appears that my attempt to defend myself yesterday at the annual meeting of the Woodlands Homeowners Association Meeting caused quite a stir. Why? Is it because those that pursued the recall effort finally admit that this recall election could easily cost up to $200,00 of taxpayers dollars to cover the cost of an election”……” Patte Atkins-Grad
After the signatures are approved at the Supervisor of Elections Office, volunteers will then need more signatures, this time having to get 15 percent of district two’s voters. Residents that signed the first time around can sign the second time. Organizers say they will set up more neutral areas for residents to sign the petitions at all the condos and developments to make it more convenient to sign the petition again.