Orlando attorney Ken Wright's appointment as a lay person to an environmental regulations board has not been well received by the environmental community's activists, who say his history as an advocate of controversial development projects should exclude him `see Wright and wrong, March 16`.
At least one complaint stems from an answer Wright gave on a Senate confirmation committee questionnaire. He was asked if, in the last four years, he or any of the companies he worked for has had any contractual dealings with governmental agencies. He answered no, despite the fact that Wright's firm, Shutts and Bowen, is contracted with Seminole County to handle the paperwork involved in real-estate closings.
Following criticisms, Wright wrote a letter earlier this month to the Governor's Appointment Office to clarify his statement. Basically, Wright says, he misinterpreted the question. He explained that while Shutts and Bowen is contracted with Seminole County, neither it nor any of its lawyers is involved in the actual negotiations for the land.
"I apologize for my inadvertence in responding to this question initially in the negative and trust that this answer is more complete," he writes. More complete, maybe. But fully complete? No.
Wright sits on the Sanford Airport Authority board, which, in the course of the airport's expansion, interacts with several governmental bodies, including the Department of Environmental Protection and the St. Johns River Water Management District. Moreover, in the last year alone, Wright has represented developers several times before SJRWMD.
Wright's confirmation hearing, which was tentatively scheduled for last week, has yet to take place. "We think they're taking a second look at it," says local Sierra Club chair Brian Hinman.