Posted on 24 May 2010 by admin
Posted on 31 March 2010 by admin
TALLAHASSEE — Former Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer is the subject of a criminal investigation after an auditor found he funneled party money to a political consulting company he owned.
Attorney General Bill McCollum referred the matter to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on March 15 after it was discovered during an internal party audit.
“This information indicates there may have been criminal activity surrounding a former senior official of the Republican Party of Florida and a company called Victory Strategies, LLC,” McCollum said in a statement.
Just a side note that McCollum was never in favor of the actual audit. John Thrasher stated publicly that he would have a private firm audit the RPOF. McCollum also knew about the secret deal between Delmar Johnson and Jim Greer for two months before actually going public with the finding.
The audit showed that Greer owned 60 percent of the company and Delmar Johnson, the party’s former executive director, owned the remaining 40 percent. Greer authorized the contract to let Johnson take a 10 percent commission on all dollars he raised for the party coffers. It totaled $133,005 for 2009 with an additional $66,250 for other consulting services.
Gov. Charlie Crist said the news is “terribly disturbing.” Greer was Crist’s hand-picked candidate to lead the state party following the governor’s election in 2006, and Crist remained publicly loyal to Greer until it became obvious in January that Greer had virtually lost all support.
“I find it terribly disturbing to hear, but I know that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will certainly conduct a thorough and comprehensive investigation,” Crist said. Asked if the investigation could tarnish leading Republicans, Crist, who’s trailing in polls as a U.S. Senate candidate, said: “I certainly hope that it does not. The acts of individuals are the acts of individuals, and that is for the people to decide.”
Crist said he “had heard rumors” that Greer owned a stake in a consulting company, Victory Strategies, that was paid with party funds.
FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey reports to Crist and the Cabinet, and Crist is constantly accompanied by one or more FDLE agents, but the governor said he did not receive a heads-up of the FDLE probe of Greer. “I heard about it about an hour ago,” Crist said at about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Posted on 08 March 2010 by admin
The South Florida Water Management District Governing Board faces a defining vote at its meeting this week, one that could bring the agency to the fiscal brink and force an increase in property taxes for homeowners in the 16 counties that make up the district.
Two weeks ago, the district’s financial adviser gave the agency a dire forecast if it proceeds with the planned purchase of land owned by U.S. Sugar, which, despite what you’ve heard, would do little to advance the important goal of Everglades restoration. Still, the board appears determined to approve this sweetheart deal, no matter that the purchase would create operating deficits of $89 million and $110 million in each of the next two years.
The board’s financial adviser says significant cuts will be needed in the operations and maintenance budgets for current projects essential to the district’s mission. To make ends meet, the board will likely have to raise property taxes. No matter the red flags, the district’s unelected board is stacked to approve this deal, which was negotiated in secret by big-money special interests in Tallahassee.
Last week, in making two new appointments to the South Florida Water Management District board, Gov. Crist told the St. Petersburg Times that he applied a “litmus test:” assurance that the new members would vote to approve the purchase. Predictably, both new members are on record as supporting the deal.
As I’ve said from the start, the U.S. Sugar deal represents bad public policy. I was the sponsor of the bill to authorize bond sales for Everglades restoration, as well as legislation that created the Florida Forever land preservation program. But if completed, the U.S. Sugar purchase will swallow the district’s budget for years, and prevent progress on other water-supply measures identified as priorities, including the reservoir, pollution-treatment marshes and flood-control protections around Lake Okeechobee.
So, while this project is being sold as Everglades restoration, it would delay actual restoration efforts by using needed money for land acquisition, while U.S. Sugar would retain the more significant tracts in the natural flow-way. Making matters worse, the deal would give U.S. Sugar an exclusive right to lease back the acreage at below-market rates for 20 years.
I’m asking board Chairman Eric Buermann to be forthcoming about the consequences, including tax increases that will be needed and opportunities that will be lost. Continuing to pursue this purchase is not just fiscally irresponsible; it is nothing short of reckless.
SEN. PAULA DOCKERY
Editor’s note: Paula Dockery represents Florida Senate District 15. She is a Republican candidate for governor.
Posted on 03 March 2010 by admin
Senate President Jeff Atwater tapped Sen. J.D. Alexander to chair the Ethics & Elections Committee now that Sen. John Thrasher stepped down once he became head of the Republican Party of Florida. Atwater spokeswoman Jaryn Emhof said Atwater chose Alexander, who was chair last year, because he was already on the committee. That way, she said, the president wouldn’t have to tap someone from another committee and start a domino effect of “shuffling people around” from one committee to the next.
One of those people who wanted to be shuffled: Sen. Paula Dockery, wrote Atwater earlier today:
This letter serves as a notification of my desire to serve as chair of the Senate Ethics & Elections Committee, in addition to my current chairmanship of the Criminal Justice Committee. The people of Florida are rightfully demanding substantial ethics reforms. The chairperson that you select for this committee will be in a position to truly listen to the people and begin the restoration of the public trust.
I have been emphasizing this need for the past three years and have researched changes that would restore the integrity of our beloved institution, and my sincere desire to use my leadership skills for this critical purpose, as well as my record on transparency and open government makes me the logical candidate for the job.
Thank you in advance for your careful consideration in this matter.
Interestingly enough Senator Dockery has been the only one calling for Ethics Reform in the state legislature. J. D. Alexander refused to remove himself from the Sun Rail vote, even though he stood to benefit financially from the vote. His recently acquired company Phoenix Industries in Winter Haven is located adjacent to the CSX rail line. The company specializes in Rail to Truck transportation, Cold and Perishable Storage.
The way I see J.D.’s appointment is simple. It’s a classic case of a FOX WATCHING THE HEN HOUSE! Not to mention the Sun Rail connection between Jeff Atwater and J.D. Alexander, but then again seems as if it’s business as usual in Tallahassee.
Posted on 16 February 2010 by admin
It is really something when Alex Sink is sounding like Jack Kemp! Yet Bill McCollum is sounding like a Democrat. You can read more about that here
Tonight the Paula Dockery campaign fired off a great Press Release that hit Bill on that mark as well. Below is that release
Posted on 07 February 2010 by admin
It would seem that Good Ole’ Boy Bill McCollum’s support is slipping. In the last few weeks the Dockery campaign has released endorsements from Dennis Jones and Nancy Detert who both came out for Bill early on.
If people endorsing Bill are having second thoughts shouldn’t voters? Bill represents the establishment and the status quo. This is just one of McCollum’s big worries. Recently the RPOF has come under considerable criticism, which McCollum has remained mute on the issue. Considering how close McCollum and Greer are I don’t expect him or his campaign to be active on this big issue. Doesn’t McCollum have an RPOF American Express (AMEX) card? But we can trust McCollum right? He did use the state plane for just work related trips right?
Posted on 11 January 2010 by admin
State Sen. Paula Dockery says her gubernatorial campaign is off and running and that she’ll report having raised $325,213 in less than two months of trying. Of that, she acknowledges, $33,479 is in-kind and can’t be counted as spendable dollars. She also notes that she loaned herself $100,000, meaning she actually raised only about $191,000.
The Lakeland Republican is far behind her GOP rival, Bill McCollum, who reported raising $1.4 million last quarter. And awaiting the winner of their primary is Democratic CFO Alex Sink, who says she ended the year with $1 million cash-on-hand.
Still, Dockery claimed a total of 1,078 contributors, many of the small. “I am humbled by the generous support we’ve received from all over the state in such a short period of time,” she said in a statement. ” At this rate, this campaign will have all the financial support we need to deliver our common-sense conservative message across the Sunshine State this election season…
“As for our opponents,” Dockery said, “they have been raising money since last summer and while they may have a head start, they should keep two things in mind: one, Paula Dockery is in this race for the long haul. And two, objects in the rearview mirror are closer than they appear.”
Posted on 08 January 2010 by admin
ORLANDO — Cheerfully shouting “onward to victory,” Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer told applauding members of the GOP state committee tonight that they need to unite if they’re going to defeat Democrats next November and in 2012.
Greer announced his resignation last Tuesday, effective Feb. 20, defusing a long-boiling controversy over his spending of party funds, raising of campaign cash and his avid support of Gov. Charlie Crist in the U.S. Senate primary. The Republican State Executive Committee had a specially called meeting this weekend, in addition to its regular annual meeting, to discuss a rising tide of demands for Greer’s resignation.
Greer added, “the future is bright for our party” and thanked GOP delegates for electing him twice to the chair. He did not mention the scores who signed demands for his removal in recent months.
Posted on 05 January 2010 by admin
Sen. Paula Dockery of Lakeland served notice Tuesday that she’s moving ahead with her primary campaign for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. A day after Attorney General (and Establishment Candidate) Bill McCollum announced he’d raised $1.4 million in the last quarter, Dockery announced her campaign team
Included are a former executive director of the Republican Party of Florida, a former political director of the party, an ex-newspaper editorial page editor and a campaign-manager-for-hire from the Tampa Bay area.
Here’s what her release said:
“Today, I’m proud to announce the backbone of my campaign team, a group of top-notch individuals with a track record of success. These are the folks who will be in the trenches with me, helping me build this campaign to make Florida a better – and more affordable – place to live and do business,” Dockery said.
Jamie Miller, political consultant, specializes in campaign management, strategic planning, public relations grassroots motivation and crisis communications. He has managed political campaigns since 1994, including two statewide campaigns. He also has served as Executive Director of the Republican Party of Florida, Director of Field Operations for all of Florida’s 67 counties and Regional Political Director, a period that included the recount that followed the disputed presidential election in 2000.
John Wehrung is the Deputy Campaign Director in charge of Operations. He is the former Political Director of the Republican Party of Florida and is credited with engineering the Republican take over Florida House of Representatives in 1996, the first time in 122 years.
Rosemary Goudreau, press secretary, is a seasoned communications specialist who works with corporations, not-for-profits and political causes. Previously, she was the editorial page editor of The Tampa Tribune, the incoming president of the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors, a director of Associated Press Managing Editors and a four-time juror of the Pulitzer Prizes. She also is an adjunct professor at the University of Florida and the University of South Florida/Sarasota.
Jennifer Lux is consulting with the campaign as Director of Advance/Fundraising Ops. Mrs. Lux currently serves as Campaign Manager for city, county, and state campaigns in the Tampa Bay area. Most recently, she was the National Advance Lead for Cindy McCain and McCain family on the McCain/Palin 2008 National Team. In addition, she served as Staff Lead for Senator John McCain.
Posted on 20 November 2009 by admin
Miami, FL — Noted economist Farid Khavari, a Democratic candidate for Florida governor, has gained national and international attention for his plan to create a state-owned bank in Florida.
“Not since the Great Depression has it been so clear,” said Khavari. “We need banks that work for the benefit of the people, not people working for the benefit of the banks. There is no mystery why we are facing another depression: the banks got greedy and stupid, and now they are making us pay for it.
“The economy is collapsing due to lack of demand. The economy needs money, but the banks are cutting credit, and then sucking all the cash out of the economy by raising interest rates to make sure no one has any cash left at the end of the month. The cost of interest is built into the cost of everything. People already work ten years of their lives just to pay interest in one form or another. The Bank of the State of Florida will end that for Floridians. And this model will work for every state.
“We can start the BSF at no cost to taxpayers. We can pay 6% interest on savings. Using the same fractional reserve rules as all banks, we can create $900 of new money through loans for every $100 in deposits. We can loan that $900 in the form of 2% fixed rate 15-year mortgages, for example, and the state can earn $12 every year for every $100 in deposits. That means Floridians can save tens of billions of dollars per year while the state earns billions making it possible for them.
“2% fixed-rate mortgages will create a thousand times more jobs than any so-called stimulus can. By reducing the total interest cost on a home by over 85%, the average family will save hundreds of thousands of dollars, and that money stays in Florida,” Khavari said.
“State and local government budgets will balance without higher taxes when the BSF cuts interest costs,” Khavari said. “6% BSF credit cards will save people billions per month, money that stays in Florida instead of going to the big banks—and the state will make huge profits on that, too. Saving billions in interest costs will create millions of jobs without subsidies just by keeping those billions circulating in Florida. Eventually the state will earn enough to reduce and eliminate state and local taxes while every Floridian has economic security in a recession-proof Florida.”
Asked whether a state-owned bank is socialism, Khavari smiled. “Are public schools socialism? Public roads, police and fire protection, municipal water? Socialism is where everyone works for the state. In these cases, and with our Bank of the State of Florida, the state is working for everyone. I call that general capitalism.”
Farid A. Khavari, Ph.D. is an economist and author of nine books, including Environomics. His latest book, Toward a Zero-Cost Economy, is available in stores or for free download at his website, www.khavariforgovernor.com.