BECAUSE HE WOULDN’T WANT IT TO APPEAR THAT THERE’S A CONFLICT OF INTEREST
ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK: Over the last 15 months, Gov. Rick Scott and his wife, Ann, through various entities, made more than $17 million selling hundreds of thousands of shares of Argan Inc., a publicly-traded company whose subsidiary, Gemma Power Systems, does business in Florida. The Scotts’ Argan profits were magnificent, more than quadruple their investment. Gov. Scott’s blind trust sold 140,976 of those Argan shares worth $2.54 million on Dec. 20, 2012. After the sale, the blind trust retained more than 520,000 Argan shares worth $9.43 million. You aren’t supposed to know that. Gov. Scott isn’t supposed to know it either. Not long after taking office in 2011, Scott put his personal portfolio of stocks including Argan, bonds and other financial assets into the blind trust that’s managed by others. The idea was to eliminate any appearance of a conflict of interest between the governor’s financial assets and his official duties by “blinding” him – and the public – to the nature of his vast holdings. Yet an investigation by BrowardBulldog.org has found that the governor’s blind trust, and Florida’s qualified blind trust law, have been ineffective. They have not prevented public disclosure of Gov. Scott’s personal riches. (via Broward Bulldog)
WE’LL HAVE ALL THE COURT CASES, PLEASE!: “Eight same-sex Florida couples who legally married elsewhere in the United States have gone to federal court to demand the Sunshine State recognize their unions. The suit, filed in Tallahassee late Wednesday by the ACLU, the ACLU of Florida and the Podhurst Orseck law firm of Miami, challenges ‘Florida’s refusal to recognize’ the marriages of eight same-sex couples. Those 16 plaintiffs are joined by SAVE, South Florida’s leading LGBT-rights group. Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Surgeon General and Health Secretary John Armstrong and Department of Management Services Secretary Craig Nichols are named as defendants. The plaintiffs held a news conference Thursday morning to announce details of the lawsuit. ‘Our historic victory in last year’s Supreme Court case striking down DOMA (the federal Defense of Marriage Act) means that many loving and committed Floridians have marriages that are recognized by the federal government,’ said Howard Simon, executive direcor of the ACLU of Florida. ‘Sadly, Florida refuses to recognize those marriages, often at significant cost to their families. The time has come for Florida to end its discrimination against same sex couples, including those whose marriages are legally recognized elsewhere in our country and by the federal government.’” (via Miami Herald)
ZOMBIE FORECLOSURES!!!: For those who’ve noticed home after home in Florida of overgrown grass, dirty pools and dark windows at night, you’re not seeing the end of the world. It’s just Florida’s zombie foreclosure apocalypse. RealtyTrac considers a ‘zombie foreclosure’ when a homeowner abandons a house that is facing a pending foreclosure action. There are about 55,000 of those in Florida, more than triple the nearest state of Illinois. ‘The biggest threat from foreclosures going forward is properties that have been lingering in the foreclosure process for years, many of them vacant with neither the distressed homeowner or the foreclosing lender taking responsibility for maintenance and upkeep of the home — or at the very least facilitating a sale to a new homeowner more likely to perform needed upkeep and maintenance,’ RealtyTrac VP Daren Blomquist said in a news release. (via South Florida Business Journal)
ZOMBIES, IT SHOULD BE NOTED, ARE VERY MUCH IN STYLE RIGHT NOW: “Florida seems to be well on its way to getting medical marijuana legalized. Voters this November are going to be able to decide on their own whether weed should be made legal for folks with debilitating diseases, and a bill that would decriminalize the use of a strain of medical marijuana for kids with severe epilepsy has recently passed a Senate committee. On top of that, polls consistently show that the majority of Floridians support the legalization of medical marijuana. Some polls say that up to 70 percent are cool with medical weed. So, this should be as automatic as Ray Allen at the free-throw line. All signs point to Florida joining the likes of Colorado and Washington and getting with the times. Right? Right? NOT SO FAST. So-called Drug Warriors are already on the warpath to soak their feet in the soft-serve ice-cream machine and ruin everything. And make no mistake, these people are committed, they have money, and most of all, they pounce on the narratives that The Pot is nothing but an evil, vile weed that'll turn the entire state into Cheech and Chong zombies.” (via Broward-Palm Beach New Times)
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