Miami developer hires governor’s pal; Scott, Cabinet green light Watson Island project

Lobbyist William "Billy" Rubin, left, and Gov. Rick Scott

By Francisco Alvarado
In late March, state emails show, Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection was poised to pull the plug on a long-delayed, contentious plan to build a resort and mega-yacht marina on Miami’s Watson Island. But developer Flagstone Island Gardens had an ace in the hole. A month earlier, the company hired Fort Lauderdale lobbyist William “Billy” Rubin, a longtime personal friend, business associate and political supporter of Gov. Rick Scott.

Scott campaign ad touting jobs record stars convicted smuggler

A Rick Scott television ad features the governor shoulder to shoulder with flag-waving smuggler Maikel Duarte-Torres

By Francisco Alvarado
A Cuban-born grocery store owner starring in a Rick Scott Spanish language television campaign ad touting the governor’s job creation record was convicted on human smuggling charges in St. Maarten four years ago. THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED

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How Medicare Advantage plans code for cash; HHS report exposes overbilling

By Fred Schulte
Center for Public Integrity
A new federal study shows that many Medicare Advantage health plans routinely overbill the government for treating elderly patients — and have gotten away with doing it for years.

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Holness: Margate isn’t the only city that’s mishandled CRA funds

Broward Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness

By William Gjebre
In the wake of a critical inspector general’s report that accused Margate of mishandling millions of dollars in community redevelopment funds, Broward Commissioner Dale Holness says he expects similar findings of wrongdoing about other cities as the county’s investigation continues.

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New law drives lobbyists out of the shadows at state water management districts

The Everglades
Photo: South Florida Water Management District

By Dan Christensen
Florida’s five water management districts, special-purpose governments that collectively will spend $1.1 billion next year, have publicly registered 250 special-interest lobbyists since new registration requirements took effect July 1.

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Broward judge to hear Hollywood tenants’ claims for relocation assistance

Hollywood's Townhouse Apartments was demolished over the weekend. Photo: NBC6

By William Gjebre
Over the weekend, a decade after Hollywood City Hall approved plans to develop a luxury high-rise apartment-hotel complex off Young Circle, the 12-story Townhouse Apartments was demolished. A Broward judge will hear next week from former residents seeking relocation assistance they claim they are due.

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Gov. Scott, his investments and the ‘temptation to dishonor’


By Dan Christensen
When Gov. Rick Scott set up his first blind trust in April 2011, his lawyers asked Florida’s ethics commission whether he had any conflicts of interest because of his investments in companies doing business in Florida. Topping their list of concern was Texas-based Energy Transfer Equity…

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Broward Schools construction program woes cloud vote on $800 million bond issue

Nathalie Lynch-Walsh

By William Gjebre
Three years after a scathing grand jury report about the Broward school district’s construction program, community activists are raising concerns about the management of future construction projects should voters approve an $800 million public schools bond issue in November.

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Meet the online tracking device that’s virtually impossible to block


By Julia Angwin
A new, extremely persistent type of online tracking is shadowing visitors to thousands of top websites, from to

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Bulldog Extra

By Chris Young, Center for Public Integrity

Charles Koch at the Philanthropy Roundtable Annual Meeting in 2011. KochfactsTV/Youtube

Charles Koch at the Philanthropy Roundtable Annual Meeting in 2011. KochfactsTV/Youtube

Pop quiz, teachers: Would you like to inject a strong dose of libertarianism into the curriculum you take back to school this fall?

If you answered yes, then a Koch-funded think tank has exactly what you need. And it won’t cost you or your school a penny.

The EDvantage, a project of the libertarian Institute for Humane Studies, bills itself as an online “curriculum hub for pioneering educators.” Full Story »

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