By Dan Christensen, BrowardBulldog.org
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel Photo: NBCMiami.com
Two of the biggest contracts that Broward Sheriff Scott Israel will ever get to hand out – worth about $500 million over five years to the winning bidders – are scheduled for award this summer.
The big-money deals now moving through BSO’s procurement pipeline will provide comprehensive healthcare services to the county’s approximately 5,000 jail inmates, and group health insurance for BSO’s 5,800 employees.
The way things are unfolding offers a troublesome look at how the new sheriff’s administration does business.
Two months after Israel’s January swearing-in, BSO suddenly called off its initial solicitation for inmate healthcare services. The plug was pulled even though proposals had been received, opened and bidders shortlisted.
Purchasing bureau director Neesa B. Warlen explained the cancellation in correspondence to bidders by saying that BSO would be making changes to its request for letters of interest.
“We apologize for any inconvenience this change may cause,” Warlen said in a March 13 letter. A BSO spokeswoman said last week that those changes included the addition of a cost containment goal and language changes and clarifications.
BID PACKAGES BECOME PUBLIC
A major side effect of the cancellation was to make public highly detailed corporate pitches containing specific price proposals for the job of inmate healthcare provider. Competitors now had access to what had been sealed, confidential information about how much each other had bid.
For example, incumbent Broward jail provider Armor Correctional Health Services learned that it was not the lowest bidder on cost-conscious BSO’s shortlist.
Dr. Jose Armas of Armor Correctional Health Services
Armor, owned by Miami physician Dr. Jose Armas, had offered to provide comprehensive medical, mental health and dental services to inmates for $145.6 million over five years. Nashville-based Correct Care Solutions said it would do the same job for $137.1 million. Naphcare, of Birmingham, Al., came in at $165.2 million.
Today, Armor, Correct Care, Naphcare are among seven bidders seeking the inmate healthcare contract. The others are Correctional Healthcare Company, Wexford Health Sources, Corizon Health and Diamond Drugs, which does business as Diamond Pharmacy Services.
The bidding is for a three year contract with two one year renewal periods. Bids were opened June 5, but by law the proposals are secret for 30 days or until BSO announces an intended decision. BSO has told those companies the selection committee will likely make a recommendation to the sheriff by the end of July.
Sheriff Israel added more intrigue to the mix with his February decision to hire Fort Lauderdale lobbyist William Rubin to represent the sheriff’s office at the county.
BSO pays The Rubin Group $7,000 a month. But Rubin is also being paid to represent two of BSO’s biggest vendors – Armor Correctional and Coventry Health Care, which provides group health insurance for BSO employees.
Like Armor, Coventry is expected to bid to keep its lucrative contract arrangement with BSO. The group insurance solicitation is for three years, with two one year extensions. It was issued June 7 and the due date for proposals is July 8.
The current annual cost for Coventry’s contract with BSO is $72 million, according to BSO. The contract expires at the end of the year.
Dr. Nabil El Sanadi
Sheriff’s general counsel Ron Gunzburger, told BrowardBulldog.org that it was made “very clear” to Rubin that neither he nor his firm can “play any role in lobbying BSO” on behalf of Rubin’s other clients.
But BSO’s contract with Rubin is less clear. It does not prohibit Rubin from lobbying the sheriff on behalf of others, yet does require him to disclose when a client “has or may potentially have an interest adverse to the interest of the sheriff.”
Under Democrat Israel, BSO’s procurement process for inmate health care has an interesting political cast. One of the three persons named to the selection committee that will review the proposals and recommend a company to the sheriff is Dr. Nabil El Sanadi.
El Sanadi is BSO’s chief medical director and chief of emergency medicine for Broward Health. He’s also a big political contributor with ties to Gov. Rick Scott, who appointed him to the Florida Board of Medicine in 2011, and Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca.
Records show that El Sanadi has given more than $80,000 to Republican candidates and causes since 2000. More than half of that money went to the Republican Party of Florida.
El Sanadi also appears to have a conflict of interest in his service on BSO’s selection committee because his other employer, Broward Health, wants Armor to get the contract.
Armor pays Broward Health to provide hospital and physician services to inmates – a relationship Armor wants to continue, according to its initial bid proposal that was made public after BSO canceled its first solicitation.
Ex-Sheriff Ken Jenne
El Sanadi did not respond to a request for comment.
IS JENNE INVOLVED BEHIND THE SCENES?
Armor’s bid package included a letter of support from Broward Health Senior Vice President Robert K. Martin who called Armor “a good working partner.”
“Armor’s staff works well with all levels of our organization and claims payment is timely, something we do not take for granted,” Martin wrote in is Sept. 10 letter.
Armor’s contract was up in December. Today, BSO is extending it on a month-to-month basis.
Armor has provided healthcare to Broward’s jail inmates since 2004. Sheriff Ken Jenne, who went to prison in 2007 on corruption charges, awarded the company its first five-year contract, worth $127 million.
The deal was controversial because BSO changed bid requirements in ways that helped Armor win and because Armor’s owner, Dr. Armas, had been a major contributor to Jenne’s re-election campaign. Controversy continued when it came out later that Jenne had lobbied other sheriffs around the state on Armor’s behalf, including Palm Beach Sheriff Ric Bradshaw.
While Jenne now operates a consulting company, De Groene Poort, several sources who know him said he’s recently worked behind the scenes with longtime pal William Rubin to help Armor prevail again at BSO.
Jenne, who was given a public welcome at BSO headquarters this year by Israel, did not respond to requests for comment.
By William Hladky, BrowardBulldog.org
A gun show in January at Fort Lauderdale’s War Memorial Auditorium
Fresh efforts to enforce two county ordinances should prevent cash-and-carry gun sales at guns shows in Broward County for buyers who have not already passed a state background check.
BrowardBulldog.org reported last month that Fort Lauderdale Police were not enforcing the county’s background check ordinance for sales made at gun shows due to police confusion over its legitimacy. This month, police posted a sign at the entrance to a gun show at War Memorial Auditorium warning patrons about the county ordinances.
The Broward County Commission in 1998 passed the background-checks ordinance and a companion ordinance requiring a five-day waiting period when gun sales occur “on property to which the public has the right of access.” A violation is a misdemeanor.
The ordinances exempt holders of Florida concealed weapons permits who have already passed background checks. State law also exempts law enforcement officers from background checks mandated by state statute.
Fort Lauderdale Police spokeswoman Detective DeAnna Greenlaw verified by email that city police were now enforcing the background check and waiting period ordinances.
“I am aware of the sign,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor John P. “Jack” Seiler. “That sign already confirms what we are doing…We are fully enforcing the county ordinances as well as the state law.”
Last month, police told BrowardBulldog.org that the county’s background checks ordinance was no longer in effect due to Florida Statute 790.33, enacted in 2011. That law declares all municipal ordinances that regulate gun possession and sales “null and void.”
Legal experts, however, said the department’s legal interpretation was wrong because that statute is trumped a 1998 amendment to Florida’s Constitution giving counties the option to enact ordinances requiring a background check and a three-to-five-day waiting period.
FORT LAUDERDALE POLICE ABOUT-FACE
The department soon changed its policy. The sign about the county ordinances was first posted outside the auditorium for a gun show on May 4-5.
The city police’s legal position is important. Broward’s two largest gun shows, sponsored by Ohio-based Suncoast Gun Shows and North Lauderdale’s Trader Ritch, are held in Fort Lauderdale.
Greenlaw, who speaks for Police Chief Frank Adderley, declined to discuss the department’s about-face.
But Sunrise Mayor Michael Ryan focused attention on the enforcement issue in an email to county commissioners and the mayors of other Broward cities. He cited last month’s BrowardBulldog.org article and said, “If your City is intending to conduct a gun show or your law enforcement encounter a gun transaction initiated or conducted on property to which the public has access, I would strongly suggest you obtain a legal opinion regarding the city’s authority and obligation to enforce Broward County Ordinance(s)…”
Broward Commissioner Lois Wexler
Ryan’s email prompted County Commissioner Lois Wexler ask County Administrator Bertha Henry to request a legal opinion about the ordinances from County Attorney Joni Armstrong.
On May 1 Armstrong wrote, “…The County’s requirements for a five-day waiting period and a criminal history records check for the described firearms sales remain valid.”
Wexler also brought the ordinances to the attention of the Broward County League of Cities. “I wanted elected officials to be aware of what the ordinances said and for them to be enforced,” Wexler said. She added that Henry sent the county attorney’s opinion to Broward’s city managers.
The county ordinances should slow down “straw purchases” at gun shows, said Hamilton Bobb, retired Assistant Agent in Charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Miami. Straw purchases occur when a criminal uses a girlfriend or an associate who can pass a background check to buy a gun.
“It should slow it down if the girlfriend has to wait five days,” Bobb said. “Usually they want to get a quick sale.”
Gun sales between individuals at non-public locations are not subject to background checks and a waiting period.
While state law requires licensed gun dealers to perform background checks on buyers even at gun shows, private sellers at gun shows in Florida are not required to do so in locations without an ordinance similar to Broward County’s.
Bobb pointed out that a felon can purchase a gun at a gun show if the seller does not do buyer background checks.
“I think (the ordinances) will have an impact,” Broward County Mayor Kristin Jacobs said, adding that she backs the ordinances “1000 percent.”
“It will surely stem the tide of illegal sales,” the mayor said. “I’m hoping through education about the ordinances that those cities that have shows will work with their city attorneys and law enforcement…”
“I don’t believe (the ordinances) will have an impact,” said Rich Nascak, executive director of Port Orange-based Florida Carry, which describes itself as a nonprofit, grassroots, lobbying organization “dedicated to advancing the fundamental civil right of all Floridians to keep and bear arms for self defense…”
Nascak said, “I don’t believe in laws that are designed to be preventative in nature because they do not work. Laws against murder and robbery don’t prevent them. Laws are designed to determine penalties.
Residents have spoken out about gun shows at War Memorial Auditorium.
At commission meetings this winter, Charles King urged that they be discontinued, saying they were “getting a little out of hand” with guns being displayed as kids played outside in the surrounding Holiday Park.
Mark Hartman told commissioners, “The use of park facilities for gun shows for the promotion of weapons is completely contrary to a child’s safe environment. It sends an inappropriate message especially to our youth and to our foreign tourists.”
Marshall Schnipper disagreed. “I’ve never been to a gun show where a gun fight has broken out, never. Most of the people who own guns are responsible owners of firearms…I think everybody should own an assault rifle.”
Mayor Seiler said in an interview that Suncoast has a contract with the city to hold eight gun shows at War Memorial during the year. Suncoast will pay the city more than $38,000 for the use of the auditorium, he said.
“We will evaluate at the end of the year” whether the city should enter into a new contract with Suncoast, said the mayor, pointing out that he is not against gun shows.
Fort Lauderdale attorney Lawrence Livoti represents Suncoast. He said his client supports background checks and will not challenge the county’s ordinance.
“We’re appalled at what happened at Sandy Hook. We are not out to make sure everyone has a firearm…We want to keep them in the right hands,” Livoti said.
Suncoast considers the city its business partner. He said the company recently sent letters to each of the commissioners inviting them to attend a show.
“We pay a lot of money to the city, plus they earn huge fees from parking. Exhibitors stay overnight and buy food. They come from around the state and bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars in business,” Livoti said.
The next Suncoast gun show at the auditorium is scheduled for June 15-16.
Gun shows have been held at War Memorial since the 1970s. The city never has had an issue inside the auditorium, Seiler said.
The mayor, however, is concerned about the city’s lack of authority to control guns outside the auditorium in Holiday Park. “There should be reasonable restrictions so people can enjoy Holiday Park,” he said.
Seiler complained about the 2011 state law that invalidated all other city or county ordinances regulating gun possession and sales, saying it has “handcuffed the city.” He called it “ironic” that the state law that blocks police from enforcing “reasonable (gun) restrictions” in Holiday Park may now force the city to stop gun shows at the auditorium.
The city commission unanimously voted on Feb. 5 to ask the Legislature to repeal the law and allow municipalities the authority to regulate “firearms and ammunition in public parks and other local government owned facilities and property”
The Broward County Commission passed a similar resolution three weeks later.
Broward Bulldog Editor Dan Christensen contributed to this report.
William Hladky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Ronnie Greene, Center for Public Integrity
Tesla electric cars
They are two cutting-edge electric car makers, headquartered in California and backed by powerhouses of politics and money. In 2009, each secured half-billion dollar loan commitments from President Obama’s Department of Energy to help transform their clean-energy cars from drawing boards to showrooms.
But this week, the fortunes of Tesla Motors and Fisker Automotive took sharply divergent turns. (more…)
By Gerard Ryle, Marina Walker Guevara, Michael Hudson, Duncan Campbell, Stefan Candea and Nicky Hager of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the Center for Public Integrity
A cache of 2.5 million files has cracked open the secrets of more than 120,000 offshore companies and trusts, exposing hidden dealings of politicians, con men and the mega-rich the world over.
The secret records obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists lay bare the names behind covert companies and private trusts in the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands and other offshore hideaways. (more…)
By Michael Pollick, Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Pompano Beach’s Custom Wood Creations
A Broward County Circuit Court jury has levied a $6 million judgment against FCCI Commercial Insurance Co. for breaching a contract and maliciously prosecuting the owners of a Pompano Beach-based woodworking company, Custom Wood Creations Inc.
The jury award includes $4.8 million in compensatory damages and $1.2 million in punitive damages.
During a three-week trial that ended last week, jurors were told that FCCI refused to fully pay a claim for damage suffered during 2005′s Hurricane Wilma to the husband-and-wife team who owned Custom Wood Creations.
FCCI instead sought to implicate one of the victims, Debra Peters, with insurance fraud. FCCI’s special investigations unit filed false and incomplete information with the Florida Department of Financial Services insurance fraud unit, the suit alleged.
Criminal charges alleging insurance fraud were filed against Peters, who was arrested and spent 16 hours in jail, according to Schlesinger Law Offices, which won the case on contingency basis for the Peters family.
The criminal case against Peters was dismissed in April 2008 for lack of evidence.
FCCI senior vice president Cina Welch said the company is “disappointed in the verdict. But, nonetheless, we continue to have faith in the judicial system, and our focus is on settling claims fairly and ethically for our policyholders and claimants.
“Our reputation is paramount to us, so we will consider appealing the verdict,” Welch said.
An appeal could stretch the final settlement of the case by 18 months to three years.
Welch declined to comment on the particulars of the case, citing the possibility of an appeal.
Founded as a workers’ compensation insurance company in Sarasota in 1959, FCCI now writes multiple lines of commercial property and casualty insurance and has 17,000 policyholders and more than $1.75 billion in assets.
FCCI employs 680, including 375 at its Lakewood Ranch headquarters.
Like most insurance companies, FCCI has its own internal fraud investigators. The FCCI Special Investigations Unit “is highly skilled and trained to quickly identify and aggressively combat fraud,” the FCCI website states.
But in this case, the jury said the unit went too far.
“The central thesis of the case was that the SIU, ostensibly designed to root out fraud, had actually been subverted to an ulterior purpose, which was that of a profit center,” said Scott P. Schlesinger, the couple’s Fort Lauderdale attorney.
FCCI had paid a partial claim of $343,000 after Hurricane Wilma tore the roof off the family’s manufacturing plant and damaged valuable machinery, the couple’s attorneys said.
But then, instead of paying the rest of the $1 million claim, FCCI’s special investigations unit sought to get the first check back. Representatives of the unit contacted a detective at the Florida Department of Financial Services and asked the agency to investigate Debra Peters for insurance fraud, the suit alleged.
At first, the state’s detective said there were not enough grounds. But emails revealed in the trial showed FCCI’s special investigations unit prompted the underwriter on the policy to beef up his affidavit.
“The underwriter, relying on what SIU told him, said it was fraud in the application, and had they known, they never would have written the policy,” Hammer said.
That amended affidavit allowed the state detective to file the insurance fraud case against Peters, which was then prosecuted by the Broward County State Attorney’s office.
“That was the core of this case, that the SIU for FCCI was driving this investigation, pushing it, and caused this woman to get arrested. And it was all to save money so they didn’t have to pay the claim,” said Steven J. Hammer, the Schlesinger firm’s lead attorney on the case. “For the next year, she had to face court charges that could have put her in prison for up to 30 years.”
As part of its punitive damages jury form, the six-member jury said that FCCI not only intended to harm Debra Peters, but that the company was motivated “solely by unreasonable financial gain.”
By Lois Beckett, ProPublica
For years, state Democratic parties have been gathering information about individual voters’ political leanings. They have noted down the opinions voters shared with canvassers — which candidates they said they supported or their positions on policy issues.
Now, the record of what people told Democratic volunteers may go up for sale — and not just to political groups. Democrats are looking into whether credit card companies, retailers like Target or other commercial interests may want to buy the information. (more…)
By R. Jeffrey Smith, the Center for Public Integrity
Actor Dean Jagger as a fictional general in White Christmas
“What can you do with a general, when he stops being a general?” crooned Bing Crosby in the 1954 movie “White Christmas.” “Who’s got a job for a general when he stops being a general?”
Alas, the answer, 58 years later, is now clear. Retired generals don’t open ski resorts in Vermont. Instead, they hunker down in Washington as the paid employees of corporations that draw most of their income from the service branch in which the generals worked. Once there, they work to maintain a stream of funding from the public treasury. (more…)
UPDATE: Nov. 19 — The South Florida Water Management District last week approved a settlement with Hollywood’s Morrison Pump that it hopes will end a dispute that dragged on for five years without reaching court. In 2006, Morrison Pump sold the district 15 large pumps that cost $1.5 million. The pumps quickly failed and Morrison refused to honor its warranty, claiming the pumps were misused. Morrison now has agreed to fix the pumps, and provide an 18 month warranty. “In addition, district staff has recommended that Morrison be suspended from contracting with the district for three years” regarding the sale of the same kind of pumps.
By Dan Christensen, BrowardBulldog.org
A flood control structure on Lake Okeechobee where pumps failed
Five years ago, the South Florida Water Management District took a $1.5 million bath when a Hollywood company sold it 15 large electric pumps that quickly failed, then refused to honor its warranty.
Now, the top lawyer for the budget-challenged independent taxing district is recommending it sue the Hollywood company that manufactured the pumps.
“If the district does not pursue this lawsuit, it will risk not being compensated for the damages it sustained,” the district’s nine-member governing board was told in a memo by General Counsel Carolyn Ansay.
The recommendation follows more than a year of failed negotiations with representatives of Hollywood’s Morrison Pump Company.
The talks began after Broward Bulldog reported last year how the Water District had been stuck with the faulty pumps, yet had done little to recover its money or enforce a threat to suspend Morrison as a vendor for failing to honor its five-year pump warranty.
It purchased replacement pumps from a different supplier for an additional $1.85 million.
Rather than go after Morrison, the district later allowed it to supply $2 million in additional pumps as a subcontractor for a pump station off U.S. 27 being built as part of the enormous Everglades restoration project.
The company’s Coral Gables lawyer, former Water District Chairman Nicolas Gutierrez, could not be reached for comment. He is serving a one-year suspension from the Florida Bar for falsifying and fabricating evidence in an unrelated civil case.
Morrison spokesman and sales manager Michael Murazzi did not respond to a request for comment.
Previously, Murazzi said district officials had sought to wrongly blame Morrison for their own mistakes. “Whatever their internal problems were, we were the fall guy,” he said.
The South Florida Water Management District is a regional agency with an unelected board that oversees water resources in 16 counties from Orlando the Florida Keys, including Broward. It’s 2013 fiscal year budget is $567.3 million – about 40 percent of which is generated by property tax dollars.
The district purchased 15 of Morrison’s 42-inch horizontal axial flow submersible pumps. They were needed to draw water from Lake Okeechobee in case of a drought. The pumps quickly failed. Ansay’s memo says the Water District retained experts to determine why.
“These experts concluded that the design of the pumps was the cause of the failure,” the memo says.
In contrast, Morrison previously declined warranty coverage claiming the pumps were misused. For months, a district spokesman had said a settlement with Morrison was near. What happened to derail it was not disclosed.
The memo says the district’s in-house lawyers will handle any litigation against Morrison using “budgeted” property tax revenues.
The board is expected to decide Thursday whether to authorize a lawsuit.
By Dan Christensen, BrowardBulldog.org
Mitt Romney with Tiffany and James Catledge at 2010 fundraiser for California's Meg Whitman
Two figures at the center of an alleged $164 million real estate scam marketed out of South Florida have been indicted by a federal grand jury in San Francisco on mail fraud and conspiracy charges.
James B. Catledge, an investment guru and major Republican Party donor, and Canadian businessman Derek F.C. Elliott, are accused of fraudulently soliciting $91.3 million from investors to build a resort in the Dominican Republic that never opened.
Each man faces up to 20 years in prison, and a maximum fine that is twice the value of the property involved.
The six-page indictment announced Friday is a bare-bones document that, despite the enormous sums involved, provides few details about the scope of the alleged fraud, how many people were burned or the identities of victims.
The indictment grew out of an FBI investigation that began 2½ years ago during a civil racketeering lawsuit in Miami federal court filed by 230 disgruntled investors in the ill-fated EMI Sun Village Resort and Spa.
Broward Bulldog.org reported in January 2010 that court-appointed special master Thomas Scott, a Miami lawyer and former federal judge and U.S. Attorney, had found evidence that Sun Village was actually a huge “Ponzi-style” scheme. He recommended that U.S and Canadian law enforcement investigate.
“The unassailable fact (is) that thousands of investors/owners and by extension their families in the U.S. and Canada, as well as other countries, have been financially destroyed,” Scott wrote in his 50-page report.
According to the indictment, Elliott was the president of various hospitality businesses in the Dominican Republic, including a pair of resorts. Catledge is a motivational speaker and the founder of several marketing companies that, among other things, sold investments in island resorts.
In 2005, the pair took out a 2005 bank loan to buy an old hotel near Santo Domingo they named the Sun Village Juan Dolio resort. They began renovations and recruited investors through Catledge’s Nevada-based sales and marketing companies Impact Inc. and Net Worth Solutions.
James Catledge with President George W. Bush at 2008 fundraiser at Mitt Romney's home in Deer Valley, Utah
Sun Village marketed its Dominican properties out of an office in Doral in western Miami-Dade County. Money that flowed in was routed through an account at a Citibank branch in Tamarac, the Miami lawsuit said.
According to a statement released by prosecutors, Catledge and Elliott’s sales pitch “failed to tell investors that the full commissions being taken on their investment were approximately 44 percent, that the renovations were underfunded, that investors’ money was being used on other projects, and the returns they promised were unsupportable and could not be achieved.
The Miami special master’s report described Catledge as “the main architect of the Ponzi scheme.”
Catledge and Elliott diverted nearly $69 million from investors to commissions, other projects and to pay “guaranteed” interest to early investors, the indictment said.
‘REAL ESTATE SECRETS OF THE WEALTHY’
More details are contained in related, but non-criminal charges brought in May by the Securities and Exchange Commission against Catledge and Elliott. The principal allegation is that the men were involved in the fraudulent offering of unregistered investments for Juan Dolio and another Sun Village resort, Cofresi.
The SEC’s complaint contends the two men raised nearly $164 million selling timeshares and other ownership interests to approximately 1,200 investors between 2004 and 2009. The complaint also stated the pair promised investors 5 to 12 percent annual returns, while also assuring that principal investments remained safe.
Catledge and Elliott used various sales materials to convince people to use their home equity and savings to invest in securities tied to the resorts, the SEC complaint said. One visual presentation was titled, “Real Estate Secrets of the Wealthy.”
Neither the indictment nor the SEC complaint details what happened to the millions that Catledge and Elliott allegedly siphoned away from investors.
The SEC, however, said Catledge set up a trust in the South Pacific’s Cook Islands where he funneled more than $15 million in commissions that bypassed his marketing company. He and his families were the only beneficiaries.
Court papers filed in the now-closed investor litigation in Miami say the money went to pay for the lavish lifestyle and gambling debts of the resorts’ developers.
The SEC complaint says that Elliott and his father, former Sunrise resident Frederick Elliott, originally purchased the Cofresi resort in 2003 and a year later needed additional funds to finish construction work. A mutual friend suggested they talk to Catledge, who could help them raise the capital they needed.
Net Worth sales associates soon began soliciting potential investors.
Both Juan Dolio and Cofresi were ultimately foreclosed. Investors were wiped out when both projects were sold at public auction in late 2009.
The Miami special master’s report blamed Elliott and his father for “mismanagement and/or essential theft of investor monies” that ultimately delivered “the fatal blows to the investors.”
Still, prosecutors or SEC attorneys have not accused Frederick Elliott of any wrongdoing.
James Catledge and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah
The SEC’s complaint seeks disgorgement of all of Catledge and Derek Elliott’s allegedly ill-gotten gains. Also sought: fines and permanent injunctions against them and EMI Sun Village.
BIG POLITICAL DONOR
In 2008, while authorities contend the scam was in operation, Catledge contributed more than $100,000 to the Republican National Committee, John McCain’s presidential campaign and other Republican causes.
Catledge and his wife, Tiffany, also contributed to Mitt Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign before he dropped out of the race.
On May 28, 2008, Catledge and his wife attended what the Deseret News in Salt Lake City reported was a $70,000-a-couple dinner with President George W. Bush at Mitt and Ann Romney’s vacation home in Deer Valley, Utah.
In April 2010, the Catledges attended a California fundraiser for Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman. California records show Catledge gave $30,000 to Whitman’s unsuccessful bid.
Catledge has reported no contributions to federal candidates this election cycle.
Catledge’s attorney, Las Vegas celebrity lawyer David Chesnoff, was unavailable for comment. He previously said his client maintains his innocence.
“He categorically denies engaging in any criminal conduct,” Chesnoff said.
Despite last week’s indictment, neither Catledge nor Elliott have been arrested.
Catledge, 45, who lives in Rancho Santa Fe, California, received a summons and is due for arraignment Oct 5., according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco.
No court date has been scheduled for Elliot, 42, who lives near Toronto. The spokesman declined comment when asked if prosecutors consider Elliott a fugitive.
By Paul Kiel, Pro Publica
Quick, how many billions in the red are taxpayers on the bailout of GM? AIG? Fannie and Freddie? Is it true that the government has reaped a profit from bailing out the banks?
It should be easy to find answers to such questions. But while it’s a snap to find rosy administration claims about the bailout, finding hard numbers is much more difficult. (more…)
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