Ethics panel finds probable cause that Maria Sachs erred on financial disclosuresby Dara Kam | June 12th, 2013
The Florida Commission on Ethics found probable cause to believe that Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, failed to properly disclose a Tallahassee condo along with her state legislative income on three years’ worth of financial disclosures.
But, since Sachs amended the forms, the panel is not recommending any further action unless Sachs requests a hearing, according to a press release issued by the Commission this morning.
Former Palm Beach County Republican Party Chairman Sid Dinerstein filed the complaint against Sachs last fall in the lead-up to the November election as the Democrat was embroiled in a bitter campaign battle against former Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale. Sachs defeated Bogdanoff in the chase for a newly drawn District 34 seat in one of the state’s most hotly-contested Senate races.
Sachs has also been questioned about a separate condo-related arrangement. was also embroiled in a separate condo-related dispute earlier this year about whether she lives in her district or not.
Barbara Stern and her mother, lobbyist and longtime Sachs friend Judy Stern, are listed as owners of the 740-square-foot unit in Fort Lauderdale in Sachs’ Senate District 34. Sachs owns a house with her husband just outside District 34 in Boca Raton, but rents the condo and lists it as her residence. The Florida Constitution requires legislators to live in the districts they represent.
The conservative MediaTrackers.org website said in in April that it visited Sachs’ Fort Lauderdale address on April 2 and was told by a neighbor that the unit had been vacant for at least six months.
Sachs, who has said she pays $950 monthly rent for the unit, disputed the MediaTrackers report.
“I have fully met the requirements of the law regarding legal residency in District 34,” Sachs said in an April email.