By: Sharon Aron Baron
Tamarac Commissioner Patte Atkins-Grad suffered a setback when a judge denied her motion to stop the recall organized to oust her from office.
“I am elated that the people of District Two will prevail,” said Recall Team Treasurer Patti Lynn from the phone at the City Commission workshop Monday morning.
In a hearing held on June 27, before Broward County Circuit Court Judge Michael Gates, Attorney Stuart Michelson alleged that his client, Atkins-Grad, would be irreparably harmed if the recall petition was permitted to go forward, Michelson argued that petitions were defective, used twice. There were no oaths on the petition, and they must swear before a notary.
According to Judge Gates, he says that although Florida Statute mentions that the form must include an “oath,” which they currently have now, nothing within the recall statute requires the circulator’s signature forms must be notarized.
It was argued that during the second attempt, recall organizers used the same petition, which is identical to a previously used petition which did not obtain a sufficient number of signatures necessary. Judge Gates says this argument fails because nothing contained within the Florida Statutes prohibits a recall effort that failed, for lack of signatures, to be reattempted based on the same grounds. He states that the plaintiff has failed to provide the Court with any case law that supports this argument.
Judge Gates says that Plaintiff has not presented any evidence or argument that any of the signatures obtained are invalid or were obtained through fraud or other improper means. These are the core and material requirements necessary to comply with the recall statute.
“This is great news, and it recharges our efforts,” says Recall Volunteer and Woodlands Country Club Resident Michael Delemma, who attended the hearing in June. “Patte was just telling everyone how she was going to be our commissioner until November 2014, whether we liked it or not.”
Recall Team members are still collecting signatures and only have until July 21 to gather roughly 1,800 signatures to hold a new election for a new commissioner.