TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – You can now call suspended Deerfield Beach commissioner Sylvia Portier former commissioner, after Florida Governor Rick Scott officially removed her from office because of her November 2011 conviction on 4 public corruption charges.
Scott’s office released a letter Wednesday morning saying that because Florida Statutes provide that a Governor shall remove from office a municipal official convicted of any charge, he was removing her from her seat on the Deerfield Beach commission, effective immediately
The 75-year-old commissioner was sentenced January 11th to one year administrative probation and a $1 thousand fine, along with 200 hours of community service.
The charges stem from information submitted on conflict of interest forms filed with the city in 2009 concerning her vote for a $30,000 grant to the Westside Deerfield Businessman Association.
According to investigators, the association owed Poitier’s brother, Lionel Ferguson, $46,000 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 prosecutors, Poitier failed to properly disclose that a financial relationship existed between the WDBA and her brother.
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.
Portier’s sentence will not require her to check in with a probation officer, and as Judge Melinda Kirsch Brown.withheld adjudication, she can apply to have her record exponged after her sentrence has been completed.
“You’ve done a lot of good in your community,’’ Judge Brown said, “and I believe you can still do good in your community.’’
The action by Governor Scott was not unexpected, even though a withholding of adjudication technically means a person has not been found guilty. However, Scott’s letter removing Portier from office specifically states she is considered convicted of the crime, “notwithstanding a withholding of adjudication.”