Port St. Lucie Mayor Patricia Christensen, 53, resigned her mayor’s post after Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents arrested her on Wednesday, Sept. 25. Officers charged Christensen with one count of official misconduct for alleged falsification of an official record and one count of alleged disposition of surplus funds by a candidate.
The charges stemmed from her allegedly depositing $3,800 from campaign funds into her personal account.
FDLE began investigating the matter in October 2009 after receiving a complaint from Christensen’s former mayoral opponent Victoria Huggins.
“It is a sad day in the history of the city of Port St. Lucie. Most do not understand that my actions, over the past three years, were not a vendetta against the mayor,” Huggins said in a statement released after Christensen’s arrest on Wednesday. “When I realized what had occurred, I approached Ms. Christensen once again and asked for her resignation or I would file the complaint against her. She refused to step down and I filed the formal complaint.”
Campaign and bank records show Christensen wrote a check to herself from campaign funds in June, 2006, for $2,500 and she deposited $1,318 in surplus campaign funds into her personal account, police said.
According to the FDLE, Christensen admitted falsifying her campaign report to conceal using the funds to pay personal bills and expenses.
Christensen turned herself in at the St. Lucie County Jail on Wednesday morning. She posted a $3,000 bond and abruptly resigned, nearly a month prior to the ending of her term in November.
Christensen was not seeking reelection this year. Last year, she was fined $5,000 by the Florida Elections Commission for failing to report $1,500 in contributions from developers.
Photo: Port St. Lucie Mayor Patricia Christensen