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

Nathalie Lynch-Walsh

By William Gjebre
BrowardBulldog.org
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
BrowardBulldog.org
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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Down the rabbit hole with the FBI: Saying 9/11 documents don’t exist when they do

9-11

By Dan Christensen and Anthony Summers
BrowardBulldog.org
In its only public statements about the Sarasota Saudis who suspiciously quit their home in a gated community in haste two weeks before 9/11 – leaving behind numerous personal belongings — the FBI has said it investigated, but found no connection to the 9/11 plot. Nearly three years later, however, the FBI has yet to back up its assertions.

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Broward commissioner’s dad wins VAB contract; Higher pay than AG, justices, judges

VAB members attend Monday's meeting. Commissioner Stacy Ritter, left, Mayor Barbara Sharief, Wendy S. Bodner with VAB counsel Monroe Kiar.

By Dan Christensen
BrowardBulldog.org
With no debate, Broward’s Value Adjustment Board voted Monday to rehire the father of County Commissioner Martin David Kiar as its $225,000-a-year lawyer, without going out for competitive bids.

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Broward commissioner’s father wants no-bid VAB contract worth $225,000 a year

Broward Commissioner Martin David Kiar, right, with his father, Broward Value Adjustment Board Counsel Monroe Kiar. Photo: Brittany Wallman

By Dan Christensen
BrowardBulldog.org
Broward’s Value Adjustment Board will consider a resolution Monday to give a lucrative no-bid contract to the father of County Commissioner Martin David Kiar. Incumbent VAB legal counsel Monroe Kiar, who makes $225,000 a year, has asked the board to extend his contract for as long as five more years without having to endure any competition for the job.

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Gov. Scott signs ethics bill; Lobbyists at water districts must register and disclose

wmds

By Dan Christensen
BrowardBulldog.org
Gov. Rick Scott signed into law Friday a state ethics bill that requires lobbyists at Florida’s five water management districts to register and disclose who they’re working for and how much they’re being paid.

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The rise of a political rainmaker: Helping mayors of Miami-Dade, Broward find big money

Brian Goldmeier, right, and clients Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez

By Francisco Alvarado
BrowardBulldog.org
Since helping elect Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez three years ago, Brian Goldmeier is South Florida’s least known, yet most sought after political rainmaker.

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Audit finds property tax appeals in state appear rigged; Broward among counties cited

agseal

By Dan Christensen
BrowardBulldog.org
A state performance audit of county boards that hear property tax appeals by unhappy homeowners and businesses says appeals appear to have been rigged by local government officials more interested in safeguarding tax revenues than fairly valuing real estate.

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Billions in Medicare Advantage overcharges likely gone for good

doctorsmoney

By Fred Schulte
Center for Public Integrity
Four years ago, Medicare auditors came to an alarming conclusion: the federal government shouldn’t have paid a half-dozen insurance plans hundreds of millions of dollars to treat seniors in especially poor health.

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Federal judge: ‘Bullying’ by Florida JQC threatens independence of state judges

U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks, left, former Palm Beach State Attorney Peter Antonacci, center, and Palm Beach County Judge Barry M. Cohen

By Dan Christensen
BrowardBulldog.org
In unusual public criticism, a South Florida federal judge has accused the state’s Judicial Qualifications Commission of “bullying” that threatens the independence of the state’s judges.

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FBI search can’t find any more info on Sarasota Saudis, even its own investigative reports

twintowers2

By Dan Christensen and Anthony Summers
BrowardBulldog.org
The FBI told a federal judge Friday that its page-by-page review of more than 80,000 pages of records from its 9/11 investigation turned up “no additional substantive information” about connections it has said existed between Saudis in Sarasota and 9/11 terrorist figures.

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