Saturday, December 3, 2011

Stacy Ritter, A Slap on the Wrist for Her and a Slap in the Face to "We the People"???

"Broward County Commissioner Stacy Ritter is still under investigation by the Broward State Attorney’s Office, a spokesman confirmed Friday."
Stacy Ritter
This is the first line from a news article by Brittney Wallman of the Sun-Sentinel, which can be read here, about Broward County Commissioner, Stacy Ritter, who is attempting to settle 28 misdemeanor election law violations in connection with the campaign contributions from 2 land developers that do business with and in the County that Ritter states were not disclosed because of accounting errors.

Oh, really!!!

The Commissioner has allegedly spent thousands from her campaign funds without showing a campaign purpose in reimbursements to herself, her husband, and others.  No criminal charges were filed by the Broward State Attorney's Office in connection with these 28 counts and she stands to make a deal with the Elections Commission where she has agreed to pay an $8,300 fine, which can be read here.  In return the State Elections Committee will drop many of the admitted violations against CommissioneRitter.

Now, the question here, like in the case with former Coral Springs Mayor, Scott Brook, is why is the State not criminally prosecuting current CommissioneRitter.

Sylvia Poitier
They have the probable cause to believe that Ritter falsified or caused to be falsified a public record when she failed to disclose multiple campaign contributions from a land developer who did business in and with the County, which a possible case could made to charge her with violating F.S. 839.13.  Which we all should remember because the State criminally charged former City of Deerfield Beach Commissioner Sylvia Poitier with this violation for not disclosing that her brother paid off the tax deeds of a low to extremely low income housing project, which did business with the City of Deerfield Beach, when the organization requested funds from the City to pay off the water bills and pay down the mortgage on the same property.

So, again I ask why is this current Broward County Commissioner being allowed to walk away with a slap on the wrist.

Did I forget to mention that not only did she not report the donations, which would have made her voting on any issue related to the contributor a possible conflict of interest, but also a news report indicated that she reimbursed herself, her husband, and others with the funds.  

Ritter, Adkins-Grad, and Glasser
Isn't that unlawful compensation and possibly a violation of F.S. 838.016 and didn't Satz's office recently bring a case against Tamarac City Commissioner, Patricia Atkins-Grad for basically the same thing involving the Chait Circle of Corruption, although in Ritter's case her developers are Charlie Ladd and George Rahael instead of Bruce and Shawn Chait. 
Isn't it a reasonable conclusion to believe that this applies to her as well, except for the fact that she was more cleverly able to conceal hers.

Here's a link to a blog post entitled "The Stacy Ritter Corruption Compendium" by Bob Norman of the New Times from 2009 that gives a little history of Ritter and herun-ins with the Ethics Commission and Satz's Office at the SAO.  Each time she was given a pass on a technicality and continues to play loosely with the Ethics Laws of the State, all while seeing major bucks come to her lobbyist husband.  When will the people get to decide when she has broken the public trust...cause each time it does appear to have been a breach.

Can someone please explain to me the difference between the politicians that Satz's office has prosecuted under the law instead of sending to the Ethics Commission or the Elections Committee, like Ritter and Brook????

Is there a double standard on elected officials depending on who they are and who their contributors are????

Don't "We the People" deserve to have any and all public officials who willingly participate in breaking the public trust, prosecuted under the law both criminally by our elected State Attorney's office and then civilly by any applicable Commission or Committee to try restore some of the public trust that have willfully and sometimes blatantly broken. 

Why is the State Attorney's Office seemingly picking and choosing?  Isn't that a great disservice to the public who right now has little to no faith in elected officials across the board.  

What can be done to restore the public trust once broken by a public official.

In Ritter's case, should "we" the public believe that her omission of these developer contributions was mere oversight and accounting errors and not part of some cleverly planned scheme to enrich herself and her family, no matter how meager the possible enrichment. 

(Please note that the Quarterly Campaign Finance Reports from her 2008 campaign indicate that Ritter was her own campaign treasurer.)

Ritter has indicated that no money was missing from the campaign account and that may very well be true.  The fact that you have documentation reimbursing yourself and hubby for items that may or may not have been campaign related and the FEC are throwing some stuff out, does not mean that the "Public Trust" was not broken and that criminal complaints should be filed by the SAO.  

It's time to stop making deals with politicians who break the public trust, intentionally or unintentionally.  Put her on the stand in front of a jury and let the jury decide the facts because it is obvious that something is amiss about this whole thing.

If you would like to read more on Ritter, her sweet deal, the many excuses she gave as to why these were omitted and why the complaint was filed, you can read about them here.

Oh, and before I forget to mention.  28 misdemeanors and she still has her seat on the Broward County Commission while all of this was being investigated and charges were filed albeit not criminal charges, but charges were filed.  Yet, she was not removed by the Governor, who in April removed Sylvia Poitier for 5 misdemeanor counts, which involved no financial gain at all.  So, it would seem that we not only have a double standard being applied at the SAO, but also by our Governor Scott.

Are we not tired of these people "playing politics" because the only losers in that game is the American people?

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