The South Florida famed Hyatt Family Christmas lights show in Plantation has come to a bitter end.
Now, that famous and controversial tradition -- which at its height included more than 200,000 lights, a makeshift Ferris wheel, and a giant Santa’s workshop -- has ended with the divorce of the couple who put on the display.
That divorce has also now spiraled into a criminal investigation of Mark Hyatt, who also happens to be a sitting Plantation councilman.
Kathy Hyatt said her husband Mark abruptly left her in January, while the final light display was still up in the now ex-couple’s yard of their million-dollar west Plantation Acres home.
She said his exit came after a disagreement over their teenage son’s education but added that Mark Hyatt has never given her an explanation for leaving after 27 years of marriage. She said she blames it, at least in part, on his newfound power after winning the election in 2016 for the Plantation City Council.
She said it was shortly after he left the home that she realized something was terribly wrong.
“I got to the mail and there’s a subpoena, and I’m like, ‘What is this?’” she said. “It’s from a bank in Miami ... and they’re going to garnish our wages for a judgment. I don’t know anything about (it).”
It turned out Mark Hyatt had secured a loan of about $30,000 in 2012. Kathy Hyatt was listed as a borrower on the note, which she purportedly signed. She claims she never signed a thing.
The loan went substantially unpaid, leading to a settlement agreement in the amount of $23,000. Again, her apparent signature was on the agreement, but she alleges it’s a forgery. In court, Mark Hyatt’s attorney and brother, Steve Hyatt, claimed he was representing Kathy. She said that never happened.
A judge vacated the order against her, and Mark Hyatt, who is a beneficiary on a multimillion-dollar family trust, paid off the full amount of the judgment in May.
The state attorney's office confirmed it is currently investigating the alleged forgeries.