TAMARAC, Fla. - A Tamarac city commissioner has been arrested after being accused of taking a bribe from developers whose projects she voted to approve.
The allegations against Tamarac Commissioner Patricia Atkins-Grad involve a pair of developers who have been charged with bribing another high-profile local elected official.
Atkins-Grad is accused of bribery, unlawful compensation and official misconduct. Prosecutors said she accepted money from developers whose housing projects she later voted to approve.
Prosecutors said the developers were Bruce and Shawn Chait, the father-son owners of Prestige Homes. The Chaits were arrested earlier this year, accused of bribing Broward County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion.
Atkins-Grad's attorney, Kenneth Malnik, urged the community to consider the source of the charges before passing judgment.
"These guys are desperate, and even though I have a lot of respect for the prosecutors in this case, I think they're making a mistake to base a case on guys who should be going away for scores of years," Malnik said.
Prosecutors said Atkins-Grad also received $4,000 cash from the builders for a victory party following her election to the commission in 2006. They said the Chaits also paid her $2,300 toward the lease on her BMW.
Atkins-Grad faces two counts of bribery, two counts of unlawful compensation, three counts of official misconduct and one count of conspiracy to commit unlawful compensation. If convicted, she could be sentenced to prison for decades.
Tamarac City Manager Jeffrey Miller released the following statement Friday afternoon.
"The city of Tamarac takes seriously any investigation of city officials. We remain committed to fostering a culture in which special interests are never put ahead of the common good of the community, and our staff continues, as always, to focus on providing all the services necessary for the city's efficient day-to-day operations with transparency and accountability."
A judge set Atkins-Grad's bond at $15,500.
Gov. Charlie Crist issued an executive order Friday afternoon suspending Atkins-Grad from office, as is standard procedure any time an elected official is charged with a felony.
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