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Commissioner denies recent fraud conviction

admin | 11/23/2011, 5:08 a.m.

Sylvia Poitier says she will appeal

Last week marked the end of an era of service for veteran Deerfield Beach Commissioner Sylvia Poitier, 75. After a brief two-day trial, Poitier was found guilty on four misdemeanor counts of falsifying records. I am innocent, I know I am innocent, she said. Poitier went on to compare her situation to that of current Deerfield Beach mayor Peggy Noland who has several family members that all work for the City, although not directly under her supervision. However, when pressed to explain why she says she is innocent of the charges for which she was convicted, Poitier continued to refer to Noland. She has several relatives who all work for the City, her husband, son and daughter, and she was never charged with a conflict of interest. The jury ultimately decided that the former commissioner was guilty as charged when she failed to publicly reveal that her brother gave a $46,000 loan to a nonprofit agency that did business with the City. Poitier contends that she got the short end of the stick. I was judged by a jury not of my peers, she said. I had four white men and two white women. I feel terrible that they would assassinate my character and my name. I do feel that race played a role in my being found guilty. Poitier is just the latest casualty in a string of Deerfield Beach commissioners charged with or convicted of public corruption since 2008. Steve Gonot, former Deerfield Beach commissioner, was sentenced in May to one year in prison after being convicted of unlawfully misusing $5,135 in campaign money for personal use. Al Capellini, former Deerfield Beach mayor, was charged with criminal corruption. When asked if she felt that her conviction was based on the recent scandals of other Deerfield Beach politicians, she replied, I dont know whether that is the reason that I was charged. I cant really answer that, I could only assume that. But I am filing an appeal within the next 10 days. By Randy Gricergrice@miamitimesonline.com