MARCH 30, 2009
A veteran county commissioner in an affluent south Florida community became the third in only a few months to plead guilty to federal corruption charges for committing what she admits were inexcusable and criminal acts.
Palm Beach County Commissioner Mary McCarty, one of the area’s most prominent Republican lawmakers, for years abused her position to enrich herself by advocating and voting for numerous matters before the commission that financially benefited her husband’s firms.
McCarty also directed lucrative municipal bond underwriting work to various companies that employed her husband, named one of the firms as the official county underwriter and accepted gifts from businesses and individuals doing business with the county.
McCarty’s husband, a former South Florida Water Management District Board member, was sentenced to eight months in federal prison this week for participating in and failing to report his wife’s crimes. He had pleaded guilty earlier in the year to a felony charge for his involvement in the scheme.
Prosecutors say the couple made about $300,000 from the deals, which were sealed with McCarty’s vote in about a dozen county bond projects underwritten by her husband’s employers. She also lied to federal investigators to cover up an illegal relationship with a hotel chain doing business with Palm Beach County, Florida’s wealthiest.
McCarty is scheduled to be sentenced in June and faces up to five years in federal prison. In her resignation letter the disgraced lawmaker said she expects to serve a significant term of incarceration for her inexcusable and criminal acts.
Two other Palm Beach County Commissioners are in prison for operating separate corruption schemes. Former Commission Chairman Tony Masilotti is serving a five-year sentence for taking millions of dollars in kickbacks from land deals and Warren Newell is in jail for collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks on various county deals.
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