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Opening Arguments In Suspended Commissioner's Trial
FT. LAUDERDALE (CBS4) -  Opening arguments got underway Monday in the misconduct trial of Deerfield Beach Commissioner Sylvia Poitier. Poitier, 75, is charged with five misdemeanor corruption charges for allegedly failing to disclose a conflict of interest she had with a non-profit association that handles low-income housing funds for the city. About 20 supporters were in the courtroom as lawyers questioned the potential jurors.
The charges stem from information submitted on conflict of interest forms filed with the city in 2009 concerning her vote for a $30 thousand grant to the Westside Deerfield Businessman Association. According to investigators, the association owed Poitier’s brother, Lionel Ferguson, $46 thousand plus interest on a loan he had made to the group at Poitier's request. The grant was not awarded, but Poitier’s vote was a potential conflict of interest. According to the arrest affidavit, Poitier failed to properly disclose to her fellow commissioner’s and the public that a financial relationship existed between the WDBA and Lionel Ferguson. This disclosure should have taken place, and the proper paperwork filed, each time the WDBA was a topic to be voted on by the city of Deerfield Beach Commission. Her five charges fall under Florida's "Falsifying Records" statute; each count is punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

Our friends at the Sankofa Society are in need of help for toys. They were expecting hundreds of toys for needy children in South Florida, but only a few dozen were donated. If you can help, reach the Sankofa Society:

Call:

Derrick Moore

305-498-4981

Facebook Page:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/SANKOFA-SOCIETY/102362306470361

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