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Former Fort Lauderdale vice mayor arrested on corruption charges

Former Fort Lauderdale Vice Mayor Cindi Hutchinson turned herself in at Broward County's main jail Friday on 11 public corruption charges, court and jail records show.

Prosecutors charged her with accepting $14,000 worth of gifts and services from developers who received zoning changes from the city while she was an elected official. She is charged with three counts of unlawful compensation, four counts of official misconduct, and one count each of grand theft, petty theft, conspiracy to commit unlawful compensation and perjury. Prosecutors said she gave false statements to Broward Sheriff's detectives during the investigation.

Hutchinson, 53, of Fort Lauderdale, was booked in shortly after 10:30 a.m. She is expected to be released on $10,500 bond later in the day.

The charges are linked to significant home improvements carried out at Hutchinson's residence that investigators believe were a reward for her city commission votes on controversial Fort Lauderdale developer Glenn Wright's La Preserve and Georgian Oaks luxury residential projects, according to court records.

Also turning himself in at the jail on Friday morning was Wright's former business partner, Steve Goldstrom, 54, of Fort Lauderdale. Goldstrom, the former owner and manager of luxury car businesses in Fort Lauderdale, was involved in Wright's development projects. Goldstrom was charged with one count of perjury and is expected to be released on $5,000 bond

The Sheriff's Office and State Attorney's joint investigation charged Hutchinson with accepting fences, pavers, repairs to her air conditioning and fencing, as well as other work from subcontractors who were working on the La Preserve and Georgian Oaks development projects. The work was allegedly done at Goldstrom's direction after Hutchinson voted on rezoning approvals for the projects in her district in 2003 and 2004, prosecutors said. She failed to disclose those gifts and services as required, according to the arrest documents.

Hutchinson served three terms on the city commission from 2000 until she was forced out by term limits in March 2009. She was raised in the Edgewood neighborhood where she still lives with her 89-year-old mother, Virginia, in the home her father built in the 1950s.

She has been president and CEO of the Riverwalk Trust in downtown Fort Lauderdale since March.

During her nine years on the commission, she represented District IV, which includes much of south-central and southeast Fort Lauderdale and part of downtown. She is a registered Democrat who switched back and forth between parties over the years – she went from Democrat to Republican in 1999, then back to Democrat in 2007.

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