Not too long ago, Deerfield Beach Commissioner Sylvia Poitier was threatening to sue civic activist Chaz Stevens.
October 14, 2012 3:04 pm
CHAZ STEVENS --
from South Florida Business Journal (Kevin Gale – April 2011)
On Wednesday, though, Stevens got the satisfaction of knowing she had surrendered to face five counts of falsifying public records.
Stevens is perhaps the most vocal activist I’ve seen during 23 years of covering news in South Florida. In taking on Poitier, he was facing off with a grand dame of Broward politics, given that she previously served as a county commissioner.
This morning, his My Acts of Sedition blog had him staking out the courthouse, waiting for Poitier to turn herself in. He wrote: “Ain’t it a glorious day to be Chaz Stevens?”
While there was no indication of corruption surrounding those recalls, Broward County has had five public officials arrested in connection with redevelopment of a golf course in Tamarac.
The question is: How many activists would be willing to push as hard as Stevens – who says he brought allegations to the state attorney more than two years ago?
Here’s part of an e-mail he sent three weeks ago:
“Dear City Clerk: Kindly add me to the list of 3 minute written request speakers at the 05APR2011 meeting. My topic of conversation will be ‘The Imminent Arrest of Sylvia Poitier.’ Also, I will be passing a collection basket seeking funds for her legal defense as fees related to fighting off felony corruption charges tend to get costly.”
Poitier earlier asked the city attorney about getting representation to take on Stevens, which he posted on YouTube. What strikes me about the video is how there’s often a pattern of those under investigation strongly proclaiming they have been wronged.
“Either he’s either going to have to call for a showdown or I’m going to have to file a lawsuit,” she says in the video.
The city attorney said he couldn’t provide advice to a city commissioner on personal lawsuits.
Moreover, Stevens alleges Poitier launched a personal attack on his reputation.
On April 6, he sent an e-mail that said: “Friends, If Commissioner Sylvia Poitier fails to issue a formal apology within 10 days, expect me to immediately file a lawsuit for defamation of character.”
Attached was a letter from the law firm of Siegel Siegel & Wright, which said:
“During the April 5, 2011 City of Deerfield Beach regular commission meeting, following the conclusion of regular business, you made certain statements during ‘commissioner’s comments’ wherein you specifically stated as fact that Mr. Steven’s had been previously ‘arrested in Palm Beach County for beating his wife.’ As criminal matters such as this are public record, our firm finds this libelous statement to be particularly egregious and irresponsible, especially since Mr. Stevens has never been arrested for domestic violence or any other type of battery, nor did he ever engage in any type of domestic violence with his wife of three months at the age of 19. Making such an announcement in a public forum without the most basic facts to back it up is nothing short of gross recklessness.”
While Stevens may be happy about Poitier’s arrest, there’s one recent dark cloud for him: His dog was poisoned.•••
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