Recall effort against commissioner falls short

Patricia Atkins-Grad acquitted of accepting bribes from developers

TAMARAC, Fla. - A recall effort against a Tamarac city commissioner acquitted of accepting bribes from developers fell 18 signatures short.

Jurors acquitted Patricia Atkins-Grad in December 2012.

Bob Bearse and other volunteers worked to collect 1,250 signatures required to recall Atkins-Grad from office.

"That close. That close," said Bearse. "I actually thought we did a great job and we were going to do this."

"I almost started crying," said Sharon Aron Baron. "I was heartbroken."

The Supervisor of Elections Office in Tamarac found 212 signatures collected were invalid, including 98 from voters in the wrong district and 92 from voters who weren't registered.

Atkins-Grad is owed $120,000 in back pay and other costs related to her suspension while she faced charges. The city is also responsible for her defense attorney fees, which have yet to be determined, but are expected to be well in the six figures.

Atkins-Grad hasn't spoken publicly about her acquittal.

The volunteers were split on whether to start collecting signatures again.

"For the past month, I have literally ignored my family, laundry has stacked up," said Baron. "Unless we can get some new volunteers to help get rid of this embarrassment, we can't do it again."

"I want to do it again," said Bearse. "I'm ready to do it right now."

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