Charged politico finally faces music

By Bob Norman - Investigative Reporter
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Atkins-Grad, center, with Stacy Ritter and Diane Glasser

The first I heard about the dirty developers Bruce and Shawn Chait came from Patti Lynn, who was then a Tamarac Commission candidate.

It was years ago, before Chait became a household word in Broward County, before they were indicted after paying off a slew of politicians in their bid to build a controversial housing development on two golf courses.

Lynn told me then that they were dirty. She didn't have any proof, just circumstantial evidence based on politicians' changing their minds to support the project and then suddenly showing up at the commission in new cars.

Lynn's opponent at the time, Patricia Atkins-Grad, was one of those politicians. She was charged with selling her vote in support of the Chaits' project for BMW lease payments made by the developers as well as other gifts. Today, six years after allegedly taking payoffs from the developers, her trial starts in earnest. The star witnesses against her: Bruce and Shawn Chait.

Lynn attended jury selection last week -- and it didn't make Atkins-Grad happy. Someone sent her Facebook posts that Atkins-Grad made from inside the courtroom and she sent them to me.

"Imagine this Patti loon is actually here," Atkins-Grad posted. "What a sore looser <sic>. ... I guess she can't get over that residents preferred me 2 times. ... God will punish her."

Facing up to eight years in prison if she's convicted, Atkins-Grad has some punishment to worry about herself. We'll be covering this trial this afternoon, so check out the Local 10 news tonight.

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