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

Nathalie Lynch-Walsh

By William Gjebre
hree 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.

Gov. Scott had stake in pipeline firm whose $3 billion venture he and his appointees backed

Florida's existing and proposed pipeline routes. Gov. Scott invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in companies that own all three. Illustration: NextEra Energy

By Dan Christensen
Shortly after Gov. Rick Scott was elected, a Florida Power & Light executive on his transition team pitched the idea of building a major new natural gas pipeline. Last year, Scott signed bills to speed up permitting for the project and the Public Service Commission approved its construction. Not known at the time: Scott owned a stake in the company that will build the $3 billion pipeline.

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The governor and the felon: the profitable, private partnership of Rick Scott and Ken Jenne

Before he was governor, Rick Scott, left, funneled stock options worth $375,000 to then Broward Sheriff Ken Jenne

By Dan Christensen
Gov. Rick Scott has refused to explain why a state background check failed to uncover resigned Broward Health Commissioner Kimberly Kisslan’s involvement in ex-Broward Sheriff Ken Jenne’s corruption scheme. But Scott has a little-known reason for not wanting to talk about Jenne.

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Obama bundlers nominated for diplomatic posts; Boca’s Mark Gilbert for ambassador to New Zealand

Mark Gilbert, right, and wife Nancy flank former Pinecrest School head Robert Goldberg

By Michael Beckel
Center for Public Integrity
President Barack Obama has named two more of his top campaign fundraisers for plumb diplomatic posts, nominating Boca Raton’s Mark Gilbert to be U.S. ambassador to New Zealand and Rob Barber to the same position in Iceland.

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Cooper City shrinks official minutes: “Details you really don’t want the public to know about”

A Broward Sheriff's captain intervenes to calm overheated Cooper City politicians last year.

By William Hladky
Cooper City commissioners had an angry, embarrassing public exchange last year, but you won’t find any mention of it in the city’s official minutes of that meeting.

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Governor’s office clams up about Kisslan resignation, breakdown in appointment process

Gov. Rick Scott

By Dan Christensen
Gov. Rick Scott’s office says it vetted Sunrise City Attorney Kimberly Kisslan before her recent appointment to the governing board of Broward Health, yet failed to uncover damaging information that led to her abrupt resignation last Friday amid an inquiry.

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State pro-business organizations in Florida, elsewhere are publicly funded, privately controlled

Governor Jan Brewer and Jerry Colangelo cut the ribbon at an Arizona Commerce Authority event in 2012.

By Nicholas Kusnetz
Center for Public Integrity
The Arizona Commerce Authority is housed in an office in downtown Phoenix. The authority, which oversees state corporate tax incentives and grants worth hundreds of millions of dollars, is not quite a public agency. It’s led by a board of directors run by the governor and Jerry Colangelo, who, after four decades as an Arizona sports and real estate mogul, is a local icon.

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Ex-U.S. Rep. Peter Deutsch lives half-a-world away as millions flow to his Ben Gamla schools

Former Congressman Peter Deutsch, founder of Ben Gamla schools

By William Gjebre
Peter Deutsch, the driving force behind South Florida’s controversial Ben Gamla charter schools, is a six-term former Democratic congressman with a unique status: he lives more than 6,000 miles away in Israel as an expatriate. Even so, Deutsch’s Ben Gamla schools have racked up hefty public funding: more than $10 million for nearly 1,800 students last school year alone.

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Legal battles blaze in Broward, elsewhere six decades after “safe” cigarette filter


By Myron Levin
It’s hard to think of anything more reckless than adding a deadly carcinogen to a product that already causes cancer—and then bragging about the health benefits. That’s what Lorillard Tobacco did 60 years ago when it introduced Kent cigarettes, whose patented “Micronite” filter contained a particularly virulent form of asbestos.

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Broward Health commissioner quits amid governor’s inquiry into testimony in Jenne case

Kimberly Kisslan as BSO general counsel in 2007. Photo: BSO

By Dan Christensen
Broward Health Commissioner Kimberly Kisslan resigned Friday – two days after reported how she’d testified under a grant of immunity to the federal grand jury that investigated disgraced sheriff Ken Jenne.

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Governor’s choice for Broward Health board got immunity to testify in Jenne case

Former Sheriff Ken Jenne the  day he pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges in September 2007. Photo: WSVN, Channel 7

By Dan Christensen
Gov. Rick Scott’s recent choice to serve on the governing board of Broward Health testified under a grant of immunity before the federal grand jury that investigated disgraced former sheriff Ken Jenne.

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