GREENACRES — Calling the arrest of Democratic Greenacres Councilwoman Lisa Rivera a “disgrace,” Deputy Mayor Paula Bousquet has become the only member of the elected body who deigned commenting about one of the biggest scandals in city history.
Gossip Extra was first to tell you last night that Rivera, 47, was booked in the county jail and charged with scheme to defraud, official misconduct and grand theft.
Authorities investigated for months to prove that the Louis Vuitton-loving Rivera took a total $23,085.85 from a safe at Boca Raton Community School and replaced the stolen dough by performing a few accounting tricks.
Rivera, 47, was the trusted school’s treasurer. A School District of Palm Beach County official confirmed he resigned from the job in late 2015 after 15 years as a school employee.
“We appreciate the hard work by investigators with both the School District Police and School District’s Office of Inspector General on this case, which was turned over to the State Attorney for prosecution. We look forward to its quick resolution,” said schools spokeswoman Kathy Burstein.
With Rivera hiding at home and refusing to talk and not telling whether she’ll resign from her elected position, her council colleague Bousquet told Gossip Extra today the allegations are disgraceful.
“It’s a sad day for the city,” Bousquet said. “As a matter of fact, it’s a disgrace.
“She should resign and if she doesn’t, I hope the governor will remove her. The governor’s office usually removes council people who are indicted and it has to be the case here.”
The arrest papers show that Rivera found out in October 2016 that she was under investigation. A detective from the school board police called her and asked if she’d cooperate. She refused and hired a lawyer.
She was reelected with no opposition in March.
Bousquet confirmed Rivera had not shared the fact she was going down with other council members.
“At least, she didn’t tell me anything,” Bousquet said.
The arrest, meanwhile, is bound to reignite a controversy brewing in the city for the past two years.
Rivera, who is married to Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office deputy Vidal Rivera, was the most outspoken council member when it came to Greenacres dismantling its police force and contracting PBSO for police protection.
Community members asked Rivera to recuse herself from the final vote since, as a PBSO employee, her husband was set to benefit from her actions. But she refused and cast her vote in favor of the PBSO contract.
After her arrest yesterday, Rivera was treated like a star.
Lisa Rivera spent a grand total of an hour behind bars, something that could only happen if one PBSO employee shepherded her through the system ahead of dozens of others waiting to be processed.
As of today PBSO is withholding Rivera’s photo from the booking blotter with no credible explanation.
And the icing on the cake: Police union lawyer Michael Salnick, who works mostly on the defense of disgraced cops, represents Rivera.
Of course, he’s not returning calls for comment.