"Florida's top financial officer blasted state regulators for striking a deal that allowed flamboyant banker Allen Stanford to open a Miami office to sell investments and move vast amounts of money offshore -- without government oversight."
State CFO Alex Sink said she wants to know why the state approved the arrangement a decade ago that permitted Stanford's Miami office to take deposits for the controversial investments now at the center of a massive federal fraud case."Sink said she plans on asking the Florida Cabinet to look into the details of the agreement."
''This is very troubling and should not have happened,'' said Sink, whose agency includes the Office of Financial Regulation. ``It just adds to a lot of the frustrations I've had over the lack of regulatory mentality.''
Though regulators for the Office of Financial Regulation said they are reviewing the matter, Sink said she doubts the agency that signed the deal should investigate itself.The Dems are really riding this:
Though the banking director who signed the agreement, Art Simon, is retired, at least one of the regulators who helped negotiate the terms, David Burgess, still works there.
Burgess could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Linda Charity, acting director of the Department of Financial Services, said her office has been investigating the special trust office set up by Stanford since 2007. ''I can tell you that we have been well aware of this and have been looking into since 2007,'' she said, adding that regulators took no action.
State Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, a former U.S. Treasury attorney who worked on international money laundering cases, said the state should impanel a grand jury."Alex Sink: Probe Allen Stanford deal".
Background: "Florida regulators failed in Allen Stanford case", "State aid for fraud?" and "Florida regulators let Stanford firm move vast sums offshore, ignored signs of massive fraud, experts say".
Tucker Carlson genuflects: "Jeb Bush: The Future of the Republican Party".
RPOFer AG woes
"So far, even with other statewide races crowded with candidates, Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp is the only big-name Republican talking seriously about running in the Republican primary for attorney general. But not all Republicans are happy with the idea that Kottkamp would be the only contestant for the party's nomination to an office that many perceive as the state's second-most important."
"One name stirring interest is Holly Benson, head of the state Agency for Health Care Administration. Benson says she hasn't really thought about the race, but confirmed that people have talked to her about it and didn't deny she's interested." "Kottkamp challengers expected for AG nod".
"A criminal investigation of former state House Speaker Ray Sansom has recovered e-mails that a state college failed to release as part of a public record requests from The Palm Beach Post." "More e-mails come to light in Sansom probe".
"South Florida water managers are calling out the Obama administration over long-stalled Everglades restoration and are threatening to scrap a state and federal partnership aimed at saving the famed River of Grass. The South Florida Water Management District's board on Wednesday reacted angrily to another delay in a seven-year negotiation between the agency and federal government over a plan to split the multibillion-dollar costs for restoring water flows to the Everglades." "Water officials say delays could scrap federal Everglades deal".
Joel Engelhardt: "Yes, there already has been an attorney general's opinion about what cities - not individual politicians - can and can't post on Facebook." "Politician's friend: Facebook".
Aronberg fundraiser screw up
"Democratic attorney general candidate Dave Aronberg says he barely knows an ex-con who arranged a fundraiser for him." "Attorney general candidate denies close ties to ex-con".
"Drug database could work against patients"
Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board: "'Once doctors know that there is a . . . database of controlled substances prescriptions that overzealous law enforcement will be scrutinizing to harass doctors, there may be no doctors left who are willing to treat chronic pain,' said U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, arguing in 2004 against a nationwide drug database. That should be a serious concern for Florida lawmakers, who represent a population that includes a large proportion of seniors -- who are, in turn, more likely to need pain relief and palliative care." "Pain and punishment".
"The city should honor its obligations"
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker
is calling for the city to renege on its contracts with the city's three unions — police, firefighters and the blue- and white-collar workers. He wants to save $2.5 million by forcing a wage freeze on the unions starting with the next fiscal year Oct. 1. To do so, Baker is ready to declare the city has a financial emergency. But the facts are that city officials signed those contracts and there is money in the bank to pay them. The city should honor its obligations."Honor city pay raises".
Contrast that with this wisdom from a Zell Corporation employee: "Firefighters have a duty to suck it up, make a deal".
Cities sue to stop "developer-relief act"
"A group of local governments, including several from South Florida, sued Gov. Charlie Crist and the Legislature on Wednesday, accusing the state of violating its constitution in passing a growth-management law that opponents bash as a developer-relief act. Crist signed the bill into law June 1 to the delight of builders and business groups." "Local governments sue over Florida's new growth-management law". See also "Lee County joins suit against state".
"Crist was wrong"
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Crist was wrong to sign a bill that could put decisions about the public's most precious resource [water] out of public view." "Watered down authority".
10 percent increase
"Most South Florida homeowners covered by the state-run insurance company will see a 10 percent increase in their premiums next year, but a lucky few could wind up with rate cuts." "Citizens Insurance premiums going up for most in South Florida". See also "Citizens Insurance OKs 10-percent rate hike" and "Citizens' rate shift could be up, down".
"Recession stalls agenda, but Mayor Dyer stays optimistic".
The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "The court ruled Crist does not have the authority to demand new nominees. It has said in the past, and affirmed in this opinion, that the purpose of the nominating commissions is to judge the qualifications of applicants. It is a restraint on the governor's appointment power." "Court curbs Crist's power".
"20 in all" seek to replace Busansky
"Former Hillsborough County Superintendent of Schools Earl Lennard has joined the pool of applicants, now 20 in all, seeking the post of elections supervisor. Since retiring from the school superintendent's job, Lennard, a Republican, has flirted with entering politics ... Another new applicant is Deborah Cope, a local Democratic Party activist, information technology consultant and former candidate for the state Legislature." "Ex-school executive wants elections job".
"Sen. Bill Nelson told a congressional panel that the Burmese python, a killer pet thriving in the Everglades, tops a long list of invasive species spreading across the country." "South Florida's killer pythons capture U.S. attention". See also "Nelson urges federal ban on Burmese python following death of 2-year-old".