sting operation busts Hallandale Beach mayor.
Florida mayor was removed from office Friday after she was arrested
and charged with three felony corruption charges.
Rick Scott issued an executive order suspending Joy Cooper, the
57-year-old mayor of Hallandale Beach, a city just north of Miami,
after she was accused of accepting illegal campaign contributions
through former attorney Alan Koslow.
surrender to authorities on Thursday following an undercover FBI
investigation. She was charged with money laundering, official
misconduct and exceeding campaign contribution limits, the Sun
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documents show that Koslow was given a Dunkin’ Donuts bag filled
with $8,000 in cash by undercover agents August 2012. He allegedly
told undercover agents he had influence with the city commission and
“had the vote of the mayor.”
reportedly met with Cooper and Koslow several times in 2012 and
secretly recorded the meetings. In one such meeting, Cooper was
recorded saying she and two other commissioners were a “team of
three” and could ensure a favorable result for their project, the
Cooper also allegedly solicited fund for Anthony Sanders, the former
commissioner of Hallandale Beach, who resigned from his position
August 2017 following allegations of miscounted. The Sun Sentinel
reported Sanders was accused of voting to award nearly $1 million to
a nonprofit that made monthly payments to his church and family.
addition to the felony charges, Cooper was also charged with
soliciting contributions in a government building, a first-degree
misdemeanor with a one-year maximum sentence.
felony charges carry maximum prison sentences of five years.
Davis, her attorney, said she plans to plead not guilty.
a Democrat, has been the city’s mayor since 2005 and previously
served on the city commission beginning in 1999.
can assure you that I will vigorously fight these allegations in
court,” Cooper said in a prepared statement obtained by the Sun
news outlet reported Cooper emptied her office before turning
herself into Main Jail in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday. She was
released later that night.
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Fordin, a developer, told the Sun Sentinel he was “shocked” by the
allegations against Cooper.
has always been so aboveboard. I recall her writing a check for
$2.45 for a soda at the grand opening of one of our hotels because
she could not accept a drink,” Fordin said.
said he was never asked or pressured by the mayor or other
Hallandale Beach politicians for contributions.
Mayor Keith London will take over Cooper’s duties while she is
Associated Press contributed to this report.