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
BrowardBulldog.org
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
BrowardBulldog.org
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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Possibility of catastrophic Cuban oil spill stokes push to alter trade embargo for safety’s sake

Dolphins swimming through oil on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Photo: NOAA

By Dan Christensen
BrowardBulldog.org
South Florida’s fragile coastal environment and multibillion-dollar tourist industry are threatened by Cuba’s apparent plans to restart its offshore oil-drilling program next year without adequate safety measures in place to prevent or contain a catastrophic spill.

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Florida revenue department files, then yanks tax lien against Gov. Scott and First Lady

Gov. Rick Scott

By Dan Christensen
BrowardBulldog.org
Like 96,412 other Floridians, Gov. Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott were hit last year with a lien for unpaid taxes by the state Department of Revenue. Unlike most other taxpayers, however, the Scotts’ tax warrant was voluntarily withdrawn, and the lien released, by state revenue officials one week after it was recorded with the court clerk.

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$100 million water and sewer contract decision due in Miami-Dade

Miami-Dade Water & Sewer repaired this water main break along NW 15 Avenue and 36th Street  in Miami in 2012. 
Photo: CBS 4

By Francisco Alvarado
BrowardBulldog.org
A global engineering firm with a problematic track record has one final shot at winning a coveted Miami-Dade County government contract worth nearly $100 million.

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Feds in South Florida investigating allegations Humana overcharged Medicare Advantage

The entrance to Humana headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky

By Fred Schulte
Center for Public Integrity
Giant health insurer Humana Inc. faces multiple federal investigations into allegations that it overbilled the government for treating elderly patients enrolled in its Medicare Advantage plans, court records reveal.

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In support of Gov. Askew’s legacy of open government, ex-aide challenges Florida’s blind trust law at Supreme Court

Governor Reubin Askew holds a press conference in 1971 Photo: State Archives of Florid

By Dan Christensen
BrowardBulldog.org
The former chief of staff for the late Gov. Reubin Askew filed an emergency petition at the Florida Supreme Court Wednesday challenging the legality of the state’s 2013 blind trust law.

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Florida’s First Lady invests quietly in investment firm that mirrors governor’s old company

Governor Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott Photo: Meredyth Hope Hall

By Dan Christensen
BrowardBulldog.org
Florida First Lady Ann Scott doesn’t talk publicly about where she invests the many millions of dollars in assets her husband, Governor Rick Scott, has transferred to her since his election in 2010. But SEC records reveal one place she’s sunk a lot of money is an obscure “family” investment firm that boasts $160 million under management and operates using the online name Scott Capital Partners.

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Pay violations rampant in low-wage industries despite enforcement efforts

Warehouse workers protest in Illinois  Photo: (Peoplesworld/Flickr/Creative Commons)

By Myron Levin, Stuart Silverstein and Lilly Fowler
FairWarning
For workers stuck on the bottom rung, living on poverty wages is hard enough. But many also are victims of wage theft, a catch-all term for payroll abuses that cheat workers of income they are supposedly guaranteed by law.

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FBI publicly releases a few more pages about Sarasota Saudis; 80,000 pages given to judge

9-11 pentagon

By Dan Christensen and Anthony Summers
BrowardBulldog.org
The Justice Department late Friday made public four new, heavily censored documents confirming that by 2002 the FBI had found “many connections” between 9/11 terrorist figures and the Florida family of “an allegedly wealthy international businessman” with ties to the Saudi Royal family.

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Lobbyists at water districts must register and disclose under new ethics bill

Florida's water management districts

By Dan Christensen
BrowardBulldog.org
Lobbyists hired to influence spending and policy at Florida’s five water management districts must register and disclose their clients under ethics reforms unanimously passed by the Legislature last week. If signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott, the bill would for the first time apply state lobbying regulations to some special-purpose governments that raise and spend hundreds of millions dollars every year.

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