Another Broward School Board member arrested
Another local official has been arrested on corruption charges. On Monday morning, Broward state attorney Michael Satz obtained warrants for the arrest for Broward School Board member Stephanie Kraft and her husband Mitch Kraft.
Both are facing charges of unlawful compensation, bribery, official misconduct and conspiracy and turned themselves in at the Broward County Jail Monday morning.
The owners of Prestige Homes, Bruce and Shawn Chait, hired Mitch Kraft to secure a waiver on required development fees of $500,000. Stephanie Kraft then had the reduced fees placed on an agenda for the Broward School Board where she left the dais when the vote happened instead of noting her conflict of interest on the project.
Bond is currently $9,000 each. They could face up to 30 years in prison each if convicted.
Kraft isn’t the only school board member arrested recently. School Board Member Beverly Gallagher was also charged with corruption.
Superintendent James Notter made the following statement following the Krafts’ arrest:
“This morning, we learned of the arrest of School Board member, Stephanie Arma Kraft, Esq.
Regarding today’s event, there is a legal process that now must run its course. The position of a School Board member is a constitutionally created office subject to any action the Governor may deem appropriate.
Over the past year, the School Board and the District have made significant changes in our processes and procedures to insure a higher level of integrity and transparency. The Commission on Education Excellence Through Integrity, Public Ethics and Transparency delivered 14 recommendations, of which the School Board has already taken action on 10.
Our Board and administration remain committed to keeping the focus on improving the academic achievements of our students in a
safe and secure learning environment.”
Kraft was retiring from the school board this year, and six people originally ran for her seat. It is unknown if Gov. Charlie Crist will appoint a new person or wait until the Nov. 2 general election race between Jaemi Levine and Dave Thomas.
The Broward Teacher’s Union also released a statement on the arrest of Stephanie and Mitch Kraft:
“The BTU applauds the Broward State Attorney’s Office for working to rid our school system of a pervasive culture of corruption through today’s arrest of School Board member Stephanie Kraft and her husband Mitch Kraft.
Community members should seize this opportunity to make a real change in Broward schools by firing Superintendent Jim Notter and other top district officials who cannot escape indirect or direct responsibility for the corrupt environment that continues to paralyze our district.
The union’s members, especially in our BTU-Technical Support Professionals Unit, have been cooperating with state and federal officials for some time now.
Our members who will remain unnamed have risked their jobs by participating in lengthy – sometimes day long — interviews with officers of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
We thank them for their bravery and the risks they have taken to make sure every tax dollar invested in our school system is spent as it is intended.
We hope the Broward State Attorney’s Office and the State’s Grand Jury on Corruption will continue to investigate Broward schools so confidence can once again be restored in our district and employees can focus on our number one priority, which is student learning and achievement.”
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