HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – A 27-year-old woman has lodged a criminal complaint against Hallandale Beach Commissioner Leo Grachow alleging he exposed himself in a community gym in their condominium building.
Alessandra Martinez said she was working out in the gym in the condo at 200 Leslie Drive in Hallandale Beach on Aug. 14 when she noticed an older man standing at a sauna door with his face pressed against the glass staring at her for more than five minutes.
Martinez said she doesn't believe he knew she could see him in the reflection of the mirrored walls and became so uncomfortable that she got up to see what he was doing. That's when she says she saw he was standing behind the door naked from the waist down with his shorts draped around his knees.
"He was exposed," said Martinez. "I kind of froze in shock. He noticed me and I noticed him, and I didn't know what to do."
She said at the moment a couple she was familiar with walked into the gym and by the time she said hello, the man was gone.
Noticing the surveillance camera in the gym, Martinez immediately went to the condo security guard to try to view the video and then called the police to report the man.
A criminal indecent exposure/lewd and lascivious activity investigation began and it was only later Martinez learned that the man she was accusing was Grachow, who had been appointed to the City Commission in May and is in the midst of a campaign to try to retain his seat.
"I was surprised obviously," said Martinez. "I wouldn't want this person being the commissioner of my city."
When asked about the investigation, Grachow initially refused to discuss it but when pressed denied he'd done anything wrong.
"Anybody can say anything at any time about anyone especially in a political environment," Grachow said. "I belong to that condo association, I was in the gym that's all. I don't even know if she was in there at the same time."
When told there is surveillance video that indicates they were in the gym at the same time, he implied again that it was a political set-up.
"It's a political campaign," he said. "Connect the dots. That's all I can say."
Martinez said she's not political in the least.
"I didn't even know who he was. I just moved here recently," she said. "The reason I pressed forward and did the police report is first of all for nobody to go through this again and second of all that I don't have to be alone in the gym with his guy ever again."
Though the incident occurred more than two months ago, the investigation remains active and the state attorney's office is reviewing the evidence.
Martinez said she only hopes his status as a commissioner doesn't afford Grachow any special treatment.
"He should take responsibility for what he's done and not lie about this," she said. "Thank God it was me and not somebody else because I'm not backing down on this one."
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