Letters to the Editor

Posted on 23 November 2011 by LeslieM

RE: Day in Court — Sylvia Poitier

Dear Editor:

Yesterday [last Wednesday], in room 465 of the Broward County Courthouse, I witnessed a horrible miscarriage of justice. A jury voted and found the embattled ex-City of Deerfield Beach Commissioner Sylvia Poitier guilty on all 4 counts of falsifying a document.

Sylvia was charged with falsifying a document because she did not indicate that on the legal form 8B that her brother Lionel was a debtor of the WDBA [Westide Deerfield Businessmen Association] when matters came before the City Commission.

Somehow, the jury found that as a matter of fact, Sylvia should have completed the form 8B’s and publically declared she had a conflict of interest because her brother was a debtor of the group.

I have previously stated that this whole case was based on if Sylvia had a legal obligation to declare that Lionel Ferguson was a debtor. The law clearly states that she would have to declare only if she knew that a vote on a matter before the Commission would result in her brother receiving a direct and immediate special private gain.

I guess David Schulson, assistant state attorney, proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Lionel would have received a direct and immediate special private gain from the four measures in question and, therefore, the jury passed down a unanimous verdict of guilty on all four counts.

However, I am still waiting to see or hear what special private gain Lionel would receive from any of the measures before the Deerfield Beach City Commission concerning the WDBA, as all of the states’ witnesses, exhibits and testimonies clearly indicated that Lionel Ferguson did not stand to gain anything from any of the measures presented before the Deerfield Beach City Commission that were in question in this case.

Sylvia’s lawyer, Johnny McCray, indicated he would be filing a new motion and appeal.

Sylvia, herself, stated she would not shed a tear today because she knows she did not falsify any documents and she did not and still does not believe that she or her brother had a conflict of interest according to the law.

It may be too soon to celebrate, for those who are celebrating, as the past has shown us that many of the African-American politicians who were originally found guilty have had their verdicts overturned on appeal. Will that be the case here? I don’t know. Only time will tell.

Hopefully, everyone will go out and get the facts of this case and not listen to the rumor, conjecture and innuendo that has been circulating in the media for quite some time. It would seem, at least to me, that Sylvia Poitier was not convicted today on any merits of this court case but on past perceptions and the fact that we, as people, want to believe that all politicians are innately corrupt.

Are they? Well, yes, many are. That is the nature of politics.

I am sure we would all be hard-pressed to find one who isn’t, but in this particular case, this politician, Sylvia Poitier, was wrongly convicted and I am sure that this conviction will be overturned on appeal. The law is clear and, once that fact is clearly and accurately presented, Sylvia will be cleared of all charges and returned to her seat as the District 2 City Commissioner of Deerfield Beach.

David Cody

Deerfield Beach


Dear Editor:

I am happy to serve the citizens of Deerfield Beach. That is what I want to do. I wish the best for her [Sylvia]. Had the political process gone the other way, and I had to give my seat back to her, I would have done that gladly. In that case, I would have encouraged the rest of the community to get behind her, to make for a healthier Deerfield Beach.

Ben Preston, Commissioner, District 2

Deerfield Beach

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