Follow the Money

25

Posted on February 24, 2017 on the internet Facebook Group Only Boca Politics was a series of comments establishing a business relationship between Mayor Susan Haynie and her husband, Neil Haynie, with Investments Limited and its principals, Marta and Jim Batmasian. This article provides more details on the situation.

Background

Investments Limited is a large private commercial land owner with headquarters in Boca Raton.  Among the many properties within the Investments Limited portfolio are Royal Palm Plaza in downtown Boca Raton and Tivoli Park apartments in Deerfield Beach.

Susan Haynie joined the Boca Raton City Council in April, 2000 and has been a member continuously since then. Starting in 2007 Susan Haynie along with her spouse Neil Haynie registered a company; Community Reliance LLC, with Susan and Neil Haynie listed as managing members of the company. See Exhibit 1.

Community Reliance’s premiere, perhaps only, client is Tivoli Park apartments in Deerfield Beach, a complex in which Investments Limited owns over 80% of the units and in which it has the controlling voice as to the apartment complex’s business relationships.

Issues

BocaWatch has performed research on the business arrangement between Investments Limited and Community Reliance and found two areas of concern. The first is that facts presented to the Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics (COE) in 2013 regarding Susan Haynie’s potential conflict of interest appear to misrepresent the truth. The second is that, with one exception, Susan Haynie has not disclosed potential conflicts of interest prior to voting on City Council matters that directly or indirectly involve Investments Limited.

Issue #1 – Palm Beach County Commission On Ethics

On August 16, 2013 the COE provided a document on Susan Haynie’s potential conflict of interest.

RQO-13-006 Voting Conflicts

In this document are at least two facts that the COE used to arrive at their conclusion that do not appear correct.

Stated Fact 1. “The COA is managed by an independent board elected by condo owners.” The COA referred to is associated with Tivoli Park Apartments in Deerfield Beach, which is over 80% owned by Investments Limited. The apparent problem here is that Tivoli Park is an apartment project with no condo owners. http://www.tivoliparkdeerfield.com/ If there are no condo owners, Susan Haynie’s company may not be contracting with an independent COA board as stated in the document, but directly with Investments Limited. Exhibit 2 shows that the Tivoli Park Master Association, Inc. is comprised of Investments Limited employees and not Tivoli Park condo owners as stated in the COE findings.

Stated Fact 2.  “The Management Company has provided $24,000 in service to the COA over the past 24 months.” The management company referred to is Susan Haynie’s company Community Reliance LLC. Since the COE document is dated August 16, 2013, the past 24 months would include eight months in 2013, all of 2012, and four months in 2011. Exhibit 3 shows payments of $276,346.56 to Susan’s Haynie’s company in 2012 alone. Note that the payments from Investments Limited to Community Reliance for the period December, 2007 to December, 2012 total $1,375,854.97.

Issue #2 – Potential Conflicts of Interest not disclosed to Boca Raton Residents

In 17 years and 3,757 voting situations, Susan Haynie has only recused herself twice. Once was in 2002 where the matter before the City Council was to give local preference to contracts $3,000 – $24,999. The second was in 2011 when the City Council was considering a site plan appeal by residents on an Investments Limited project. This latter recusal suggests a conflict of interest with Susan Haynie that should have been disclosed whenever a vote that potentially effects Investments Limited is being considered. Given the wide scope of ownership of properties in Boca Raton by Investments Limited, the potential for conflict with Susan Haynie is high. As an example, each commercial property owner in downtown Boca Raton pays a special assessment annually. The City Council sets the level of special assessment, which has a financial impact on Investments Limited. Another example is voting on an ordinance that impacts development, such as the minimum parcel size for a building to qualify for a 160’ height. This has the potential to financially impact Investments Limited.

Recommendations

Given the seriousness of the issues described above, it is recommended that the City council refer this matter to the Palm Beach County State Attorney Office to conduct an immediate and independent investigation into the potential conflict of interest between Ms. Haynie, individually, and Community Reliance, LLC, her privately held Limited Liability Company, with Investments Limited.

BocaWatch is also encouraging the City Council to engage outside legal counsel on behalf of Ms. Haynie for purposes of protecting her rights in this matter.

BocaWatch remembers back to the day when Palm Beach County was dubbed ‘Corruption County’, a county in which five elected officials were sent to jail; one was placed on probation and banned from ever returning for public office and one high profile attorney also was sent to jail and suspended.

Considering the facts uncovered in public records, the residents of Boca Raton should be provided clarity as to the potential conflict suggested in this newly discovered relationship.  Anything short of that would be a disservice to the residents of Boca Raton.

Exhibit 1 – Community Reliance LLC Organization Structure

Exhibit 2 – Tivoli Park Master Association, Inc. Organization Structure

Exhibit 3 – Payments Made in 2012 to Tivoli Park Master Association, Inc./ Community Reliance LLC

Tivolima Transactions

 

25 COMMENTS

  1. This story is unbelievable. This has been going for on all these years and we are now just finding out . If any of this stuff is even remotely accurate she needs to leave and resign. Mary Mc Carthy from that cabal in Palm Beach where over 15 were implicated in a “pay to play” deal went to jail for 5 years for just sending some insurance to her husband’s company. I think he got a commission of $10,000 and here we are talking about $1.3 million. If the State’s Atty Office doesn’t jump on this, the US atty’s office needs to get involved.
    I really hope that none of this is true. The hit on Boca has a clean family town and a great vacation town would be destroyed. Palm Beach has never recovered from being accused as the Top Corruption County in America. This story needs to be killed asap before the press picks up on it. The mayor needs to drop out of the race for health reasons ,etc and boca watch needs to drop this story in order to save our city. I am sure the Batmasians will agree .We don’t need this stuff. God help us if the press picks up on this stuff. WE need to act asap as in next 24 hours to do something. Batmasians need to make a decision. We got to kill this story for all of boca residents . Jim and Marta and Susan need to meet in their atty’s office and just think about the negative press for several months . God help us.

  2. Whoever approves these comments please scratch my last comment. I think boca watch should rethink about posting this story. This will do unbelievable damage to the boca brand. We have to think about boca first and not the mayor. Batmasians and Haynie need to get together and just think about the aftermath of damage to all involved because of this story . If the press gets ahold of this we are done as a city.

  3. Ms Hayne owes the residents a complete explanation before the 3/14 election. Maybe this is how she can afford all those TV and attack ads.
    What has happened to “government in the sunshine?”

  4. “Truth and Trust”….What a damning article. ‘Truth’…. As recently as last night, Ms. Haynie claimed that Community Reliance LLC is her husband’s company and she has no involvement. Public records clearly establish otherwise. As for ‘Trust’, Boca Raton residents may have 1.4 million reasons to want a clarifying explanation. How can we, the residents, trust that our interests are being protected over the interest of the developers? Al Zucaro

  5. A major concern is that the ruling by the Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics looks like it was based on incorrect information. Either they erred in interpreting the information provided to them or they were provided wrong information. This discrepancy has to be clarified and appropriate action taken based on the results. There needs to be consequences.

  6. As a point of clarification, the attorney that this article refers to as having been “disbarred” as part of the political corruption in the mid-2000’s was in fact not disbarred but only suspended. If you’re going to write stuff and call it research, please don’t get caught with the wrong facts.

  7. Boca Politics….what a tangled web we weave, and what will be the outcome. Unfortunately I see much apathy with the voters, not seaming to care, and saying what difference does it make. What unholy alliance is there between Haynie and Thomson? He is new to town, and has never voted in a Boca Election. Mr. Weinroth has taken him under his wing and and will show him what he needs to do and say.

  8. Finally the answer to why our city/community has become a concrete jungle, ridden with congestion and Developer Money.

    Ms. Haynie has a lot to lose if she is not re-elected…one wonders if she will also lose Tivoli Park as a client?

    No wonder she has stooped to unconscionable, personal attacks and gutter politics…$1.3m is not chump change!

  9. I don’t normally respond to untrue and ugly allegations against us, believing it is part of the exposure we have to endure, as a very large landlord in the City. However, when I see the gross injustice and inaccuracy ,slendering someone else associated with us, I feel compelled to respond and tell the other side of the story. We are not developers. We developed Royal Palm 12 years ago when Ms. Haynie was the sole dissenting vote against the development. We have spent millions of dollars improving the facades of over 50 properties to beautify the City when Ms. Haynie has scrutinized and disapproved, costing large sums to rectify. We have paid and continue to pay, millions of dollars for downtown assessments going back to the inception of Mizner Park. We pay millions of dollars in permit fees annually to the City that we are very proud of for almost 35 years, raising our children and grandchildren.. We do own a large part of the Tivoli Park that had a management company that went out of business. Mr. Haynie was the lowest bidder to manage the account , for a pittance,when it became available a few years ago.. Ms. Haynie recused herself from voting on any Investments Limited matters until the Ethics Commission cleared and allowed her. We aren’t big supporters of Ms. Haynie , however, like her for what she has done for our City. We have come a long way to live in a City where we can live, work and play. Why can’t our residents appreciate all the amenities provided to them by this City, rather than dwelling on negatives and negative campaign tactics. Shame on us for not working together.

      • whataboutism
        When you deflect criticism by pointing out flaws in your opponent, specifically using the phrase “what about x?” This is an attempt to excuse you from changing your behavior by painting your opponent as a hypocrite.

    • Thank you for posting Marta but I agree with Ian that the words sound like privilege is due the Batmasians because of the millions paid in fees and assessments; and that the “people” should appreciate that over the loss of quality of life due directly to the overdevelopment of the downtown and soon to be mid-town. This issue of the Tivoli Park contract represents one incident of potential Quid Pro Quo that has been uncovered. It begs the question what others exist that can’t be found. If I were mayor, I never would have even applied for the Tivoli Park contract because of, for nothing else, the appearance corruption.

      In spite of what you said of your feelings for Mayor Haynie, you still hired Neil Haynie to manage Tivoli Park and you still gave permission to the “Vote No” campaign on the Wildflower back in November and the Haynie/Thomson/Singer campaigns for signage in this election.

      Actions speak louder than words. When those signs come down and Zucaro/O’Rourke/Dervishi signs go up, you’ll have my attention.

    • Ms Batmasian, let me explain why Boca Watch came into existence about 4 years ago. It has nothing to do with you or your husband. The citizens do not trust boca government and it started with Mayor Haynie. It was the tactics used to authorize the archstone project. We didn’t want much as in setbacks front and back. Drive behind the Palmetto Prominade and you will see what the neighbors see. Haynie goes to Tallahassee and comes back and brags about a law she help get passed and it was retroactive to over turn the referendum. Boca sues it own citizens. Than we see those ugly ads on tv accusing Majhess of being a bad guy and now we see flyers accusing workers at boca watch as being Nazi’s. This use to be a family town . Now we got outside thugs taking over the city council and you expect us to sit back and not fight. Democracy is in trouble when the government doesn’t fear the people. We have no problem with you. It is the lies and conspiracies that we will not tolerate any longer.

  10. Whatever your explanations Ms. Haynie, you have been a despicable and shameful Mayor. A terrible representative of the Boca Raton Community. YOU turned our lovely downtown neighborhood into a mass of congestion. Our once beautiful downtown is totally overdeveloped and you know that! I hope you and all those responsible get stuck every day in a traffic jam and are unable to park just to eat in a neighborhood restaurant. SHAME ON YOU ALL!

    I hope you lined your pockets well because you and everyone else who shares this responsibility with you…..will need it. You do know you’ll all pay one way or another. Better watch out….. all you thieves…” Karma’s a bitch” !

    You all know who you are and deserve all the negativity you’ll get! I for one can’t wait to see you all go down…and you will.

    Marcia Delman

  11. One need only look to the Hyatt Place on the corner of Palmetto and US1 – this the future of our city under the current administration. The Hyatt ‘out of’ Place is an albatross, this hotel is designed for quick stop business connections and it belongs near an airport … I believe we have an airport in Boca Raton.

    Here are some quotes from current decision makers and influencers in our city – ask yourself if these sentiments are in alignment for your vision of Boca Raton:

    “This is going to bring us to the next level of what we’ve been trying to do in our city to develop it to bring our residents from out in the suburbs into the city, to bring people down here from West Palm Beach,” said Bob Weinroth, Boca’s deputy mayor. “This is a great day for Boca.”

    “As we transform our downtown, it’s important to bring as many businesses down here,” said Troy McLellan, president and CEO of the Boca Chamber, which serves south Palm Beach County. “This will allow us to do that.”

  12. One need only look to the Hyatt Place on the corner of Palmetto and US1 – this the future of our city under the current administration. The Hyatt ‘out of’ Place or Haynie Place ,if you prefer,is an albatross.
    This hotel is designed for quick stop business connections and it belongs near an airport … I believe we have an airport in Boca Raton.

    Here are some quotes from current decision makers and influencers in our city – ask yourself if these sentiments are in alignment for your vision of Boca Raton:

    “This is going to bring us to the next level of what we’ve been trying to do in our city to develop it to bring our residents from out in the suburbs into the city, to bring people down here from West Palm Beach,” said Bob Weinroth, Boca’s deputy mayor. “This is a great day for Boca.”

    “As we transform our downtown, it’s important to bring as many businesses down here,” said Troy McLellan, president and CEO of the Boca Chamber, which serves south Palm Beach County. “This will allow us to do that.”

  13. Marta,

    It is respectable that you took the time to respond, thank you.

    Two points:

    1. Nowhere in your reply, did you state that Community Reliance, thus the Haynie family, did not directly profit from their relationship with Investments Limited. Yes or No?

    2. The statement that you are not developers does not seem to be accurate. Wasn’t there an Individual Development Approval granted to you, as owners of the Royal Palm Plaza, for three 100+ foot tall buildings to be placed on that property? Would that not qualify you as a “developer”?

  14. Marta, you and Jim are well intentioned people that have tried to preserve the Mizner brand otherwise no statue with a monkey. I remember you saying to small maybe 20 years ago. So what do you think about the Mizner brand now. Almost gone. We are not against development but we wanted to help shape it as in grass and open spaces. We have been steamrolled and we don’t believe anything that comes out of haynie’s mouth. A sweet talking lady that we don’t trust or believe in. We are trying to save this city not destroy it with overdevelopment. Moderation but no haynie and her thugs crush us every election. When someone has absolute power it breeds contempt for the little people which leads to bad judgement to corruption. For the sake of boca settle this issue regarding Tivoli asap.

  15. As a former New York/New Jersey resident and a Real Estate broker in those
    states, as well as real estate agent in Florida, I am appalled to see what has
    happened to Boca since I relocated here 26 years ago. What was once a very
    charming area has now become a nightmare in overdevelopment, and an angry
    and frightening atmosphere surrounding residents’ enjoyment of life. Traffic
    is unbearable, as well as ugly, impenetrable buildings have risen in heights that
    not only block the sunshine, but disturb the senses. Shame on the council and the mayor for allowing this to happen. And shame on the public for allowing
    them to be in charge. CHANGE IS NECESSARY AND NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. She is the chair of the MPO, which is the transportation planning for all Palm Beach County…yet traffic is horrible in Boca. What has she done up till now? Why will it change if it hasn’t? Why has she not been successful in doing anything other than to vote for increase in salaries for council members?

    I agree CHANGE IS NECESSARY NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Let’s put in some new faces.

  17. FINALLY!! I’ve been thinking that Haynie really must be lining her pockets by voting YES to every project. Boca Raton has changed so much in the 26 years I have been a resident. Unchecked expansion, with very little regard for the resistance of her citizens.

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