The Coastal Star

Boca Raton: Haynie's attorney asks for more time to prepare; next hearing set

By Emily Minor  
    The attorney for embattled Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie told a judge at a “status check” hearing Tuesday that his team had just received discovery materials from prosecutors and needs more time to prepare.
     Palm Beach Circuit Judge Glenn D. Kelley scheduled the next hearing for July 26; a trial date could be set then.
     Haynie, 62, was arrested April 24 for allegedly failing to disclose income she and her husband, Neil, received from developer James Batmasian, whose city projects she favored in several city council votes. She has not resigned as mayor, although she is suspended from that position.
     At the core of the charges from the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office? Haynie, a longtime city servant who has lived in Boca for almost 50 years, is accused of collecting $140,000 since 2014 from business deals with Batmasian, which Haynie failed to disclose.
     During that time, prosecutors allege she cast four favorable votes on Batmasian projects.
     In May, Haynie switched attorneys, hiring former federal prosecutor Bruce Zimet, now a noted defense attorney, who a decade ago represented Batmasian — the developer at the center of the Haynie scandal. In 2008, Batmasian served eight months in federal prison for payroll tax evasion. 
     The two cases are unrelated and Zimet has said there is no conflict of interest.
     No plea deal is in the making, Zimet said Tuesday. He called Haynie “very engaged in the case” and said they’re looking forward to “seeing what the evidence is” in the state’s discovery files. Zimet said they’re confident “there’s just no case there.”

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