Friday, May 14, 2010
Working for Senator Kennedy and his top-notch staff taught me that politics is not only fun and full of laughter, but that politics is “the art of the possible” and that, in playwright Tony Kushner’s words, in "Angels in America," “only in politics does the miraculous occur.” The legacy of Ted Kennedy, the best Senator ever, was best expressed by JFK, who said, “here on Earth, God’s work must truly be our own.”
Read more: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2009/08/florida-tributes-to-sen-edward-m-kennedy.html#ixzz0oEaHpDSj
Here's an article I published in 2000 about nuclear weapons plant workers' CONpensation programs. http://www.downwinders.org/ed.htm
By Ed Slavin
April 6, 2000
Consider the following thirteen cases, twelve of them wrought by the Greatest Democracy on Earth as sequelae of the Cold War, the U.S. Foreign Policy of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), and massive nuclear weapons production, testing and transportation:
1. A Y-12 worker develops beryllium disease and dies, leaving a wife and family in danger of losing their home due to medical and funeral expenses.
2. A Vermont Gulf War soldier decorated for bravery is dosed with “depleted” uranium and radioactive fallout as he stands amidst the radioactive DU-contaminated battlefield that he has been assigned to, just short of defeating Sadaam Hussein in 1990.
3. A Utah shepherd guards his flock and finds himself dying of cancer, learning too late that the Government nuclear weapons tests at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) have contaminated him with radiation and caused inoperable cancer.
4. A Hanford baby grows up in a government-built house, crawling on a carpet full of radionuclides and toxics, breathing toxic fumes. The baby dies of childhood leukemia.
5. An Oak Ridge child grows up playing in East Fork Poplar Creek and dies of non-Hodgkins lymphoma at age 38, just as his legal career is taking off.
6. An temporary clerical worker at a DOE site receives no nuclear safety training. Then she finds herself working atop a former nuclear reactor that has never been decontaminated, decommissioned or deactivated, containing large quantities of uranium and hydrogen fluoride, causing her to miscarry twins and develop bipolar disorder.
7. A nuclear weapons courier transporting and protecting nuclear weapons on our highways develops thyroid disease, chronic sleep disorder, and is permanently disabled as a result of DOE’s management bumbling insensitivity in failing to provide radiation detection equipment or proper scheduling or training.
8. An eleven year old girl breathes the radioactively polluted air on her family’s farm, at school and at play, developing thyroid disease, requiring surgery, synthetic thyroid hormone, and a life of fearing cancer.
9. An auto wreck victim thought to be dying is injected with plutonium, and is never asked and never gives consent.
10. A pregnant low-income mother in the ghetto is given a vitamin supplement, in reality an experiment in which she is given radionuclides.
11. A Native American Uranium miner is exposed to cancer-causing radionuclides without warning or fair compensation when he dies of cancer: federal law protects the Government from liability.
12. A South Pacific family is dosed with radiation as a result of a secret U.S. nuclear weapons test, is contaminated, develops cancer, and is offered a minimal amount of money as “compensation,” with no medical benefits.
13. A Tennessee coal miner gets pneumoconiosis. The coal company is taxed on each ton of coal production, paying with its profits for compensation for industrial diseases that are predictable, preventable and all too common among working people in coal mines. Workers have a right to hearings before independent Administrative Law Judges, lifetime compensation, medical expenses, and compensation for widows and orphans. The Supreme Court has upheld the right of the Government to tax coal companies to pay for workers compensation for coal workers’ pneumoconiosis.
The first 12 cases involve vastly different legal rights, if any. In each case, the Government generally tries to deny liability based on “sovereign immunity” or “discretionary function.” Nuclear Weapons industry managers are not prosecuted. They are not found liable. Often, the affected persons do not even sue. They cannot find lawyers.
Under current law, each of these cases is treated differently. Why? DOE and the Justice Department, aided and abetted by an unwitting Congress, have rigged the law to disfavor the victims and to coddle the Government and contractor managers who are responsible for these crimes and torts. They deal with victims one at a time, dismissively, with the New York Times Magazine reporting that they were long called “the crazies” at DOE Headquarters, as if they weren’t real victims. Such ugly pejoratives are still slung today at sick workers and residents and whistleblowers.
There is no principled reason why cases 1-12 should not be treated like case 13, and provided with a Due Process hearing where evidence can be developed before an independent Administrative Law Judge and independent appeals are assured, to the DOL Benefits Review Board and to a Circuit Court of Appeals, with the right to petition the Supreme Court for certiorari. Why should coal miners have greater rights than uranium miners or other DOE victims? Why should veterans get VA compensation but nuclear weapons workers get nothing? Why should dead babies’ deaths not be compensated? Why has the Government never apologized?
There is no principled reason why Native American uranium miners, St. George, Utah shepherds, Oak Ridge K-25, Y-12 and X-10 workers, Hanford area residents, Marshall Islands residents -- all victims of DOE, every single one, whether workers or residents -- should not be compensated.
Current law is splattered all over the map. After lawsuits are lost due to the Federal Tort Claims Act “discretionary function” exemption, workers get Congressman to introduce a bill, providing for lump sum monetary payments. Only one small group gets benefits. Others are left out in the Cold, permanent victims of the Cold War.
President Clinton has defined insanity as “doing the same old things and expecting different results.” Vice President Albert Gore, Jr. wrote in Earth in the Balance that the Exxon Valdez oil spill was “an indictment of our civilization.” What then does he call the Government’s victimization of all of the victims of nuclear weapons, our own Cheylabinsk? When are the polluters going to pay?
DOE’s bill is a proverbial dog with fleas:
* DOE’s bill would only cover a handful of workers. This is unacceptable.
* DOE’s bill does not cover non-workers, like babies and other Downwinders.
* DOE’s bill would deny victims their day in Court. This is unacceptable.
* DOE’s bill would deny victims any right to appeals. This is unacceptable.
* DOE’s bill would reduce benefits by other benefits received. This is unacceptable.
* DOE’s bill would have DOE adjudicate claims, instead of the Labor Department. DOE has a conflict of interest. DOE has no Administrative Law Judges. This is unacceptable.
* DOE’s bill would pay a handful of victims a $100,000 bribe, in return for which they would give up their right to sue, and have to give some of the money back to DOE contractors or health care providers. This is unacceptable.
* DOE’s bill does not provide for independent health insurance, provided by doctors of the workers’ choice. This is unacceptable.
* DOE’s bill does not cover deceased victims. This is unacceptable.
* DOE’s bill does not apologize. This is unacceptable.
* DOE’s bill does not make any of the air, land and water polluters pay, as they do under Black Lung, where there is a 50 cent per ton tax on coal operators to pay pneumoconiosis benefits. This is unacceptable.
The Clinton Administration’s first proposal on nuclear workers compensation is inadequate. The victims selected for the $100,000 bribe have rejected it. So should Congress and the Administration. The offer is unacceptable.
In contrast to the DOE proposal, coal miners receive benefits which over the life of the miner, widow and orphan, amount to some $500,000, including medical benefits. Black Lung attorney fees are paid based on a reasonable hourly rate and a reasonable number of hours. Black Lung attorneys don’t get a percentage of the recovery -- they get paid based on how much they worked. DOE’s bill would give attorneys 10% of the amount recovered, taking the amount of recovery from the victim, while discouraging attorneys from taking complex occupational disease cases. This is unacceptable.
Jimmy Carter wrote in his autobiography, Why not the best? about how Admiral Hyman Rickover asked him if he had always done his best at the Naval Academy. Carter candidly said no. The Administration’s proposal is not even a good first try.
It was 23 years ago tonight that President Carter gave his speech on the energy crisis, calling it the “moral equivalent of war.” I was a 20 year old staffer for Senator Jim Sasser, assigned to cover the Department of Energy. I had no idea at that time what DOE had done to Tennesseans and other Americans. No one but DOE knew that.
Six years later, the mercury losses in Oak Ridge were declassified on May 17, 1983, at my request. Other disclosures around the country, sought by activists from all walks of life, have shown the Nation a picture of sublime ugliness: the Cold War took tens of thousands of Americans as unwilling victims, without informed consent. Now we know all too well that our Nation faces a moral crisis involving DOE, truly the “moral equivalent of war,” one that will test who we are as a people. The DOE Nuclear Weapons complex, to paraphrase Lincoln, is guilty of “idolatry that practices human sacrifices.” DOE’s American victims must be compensated fully, fairly and swiftly.
John Wayne and other actors, extras, producers, directors and film crews on location in Utah were contaminated with radiation. Many paid the price in shortened life spans. The NTS victim, the Gulf War veteran, the uranium miner, the baby, and their grieving families -- why should any of them be treated less favorably by our Government than it treats coal miners under the 1969 Black Lung Benefits Act? Why should they be denied hearings to prove what happened to them? Why should they be denied appeals? Why not the best compensation system, for everyone affected, instead of the worst insult that DOE and Justice Department lawyers can think up?
All Nuclear Weapons victims everywhere in the United States must be covered and be eligible for compensation, without requiring proof of causation, based upon an “interim presumption” of entitlement to benefits based upon exposure and disease, just like under Black Lung. That is the least we can expect. Some skeptics dismiss the Black Lung analogy and say that only miners get Black Lung disease, and that the only diseases that Nuclear Weapons victims get that are limited to workplace exposure are berylliosis, asbestosis and mesothelioma. This misses the point.
Children don’t normally die of leukemia without a toxic exposure. Workers don’t get cyanide exposure at home -- they get it in “dark satanic mills” like the Gaseous Diffusion Plants. Plutonium does not have a naturally occurring background level.
The complex of diseases and deaths in nuclear weapons and testing plant sites must be studied, using real people and not just cold statistics on corpses piled high over the years. People must be given treatment, tests must be done, results must be analyzed.
The point of Black Lung as a model is that Congress saw suffering, and decided to help. It adopted policies, practices and procedures well-developed since 1928. DOE rejected those policies in favor of a closed, secretive model used for federal employees’ workers’ compensation. This is a perverse model of failure, whose failings have been document in House of Representatives oversight hearings.
DOE tries to lead victims down the wrong road again. This is unacceptable.
"Just like the tobacco industry, DOE's minions are adept at portraying uncertainty and ambiguity, when they well know in their hearts what makes workers sick. Unlike the tobacco companies, the DOE weapons complex is owned by all Americans."
Oak Ridge lawyer Gene Joyce, a lifelong family friend of Vice President Albert Gore, Jr., made a wise contribution to the vigorous debate on Oak Ridge illnesses (February 25, 1998 column) by suggesting the adoption of a federal compensation remedy.
Mr. Joyce's apt analogy to Black Lung Benefits Act legislation is well taken. I applaud Mr. Joyce's humanitarian insights. Let’s pass such a law and make it a living memorial to all in Oak Ridge and around the country who have served and sacrificed for their country in the Nuclear Weapons business for 57 years.
Successful DOL workers compensation case claimants get their medical expenses paid. During a single Black Lung case, the total compensation payout, including medical benefits and survivor benefits for widows and orphans, can run as high as $500,000.
Federal workers compensation for nuclear workers was first proposed in Congress in 1958 by then Senator Albert Gore, Sr. It was proposed over again in the 1980s by Rep. David Skaggs of Colorado. Without strong support from unions and DOE, the proposals went nowhere. With unified support from Downwinders, workers, unions, environmentalists, civil libertarians (and as Senator John McCain would say vegetarians) in Hanford, Oak Ridge and other DOE "Company Towns" and Downwinder locations around the country, the proposals for federal workers' compensation for nuclear workers and residents might finally pass. Federal compensation for nuclear victims makes good sense.
The United States Department of Labor (DOL) has adjudicated many special types of workers' compensation cases since the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act of 1928. "Extensions" of the Longshore act cover workers at federal military bases, offshore oil platforms, and coal mines. During the Vietnam war, there were contractor employees injured in Vietnam who were covered by "Longshore extensions." The basis of these federal workers' compensation programs is a strong federal interest in protecting workers in the selected occupations and industries. Nuclear weapons plant workers have worked on federal property, with federal tax dollars: they deserve a federal remedy that is free from the vagaries of state courts, where benefit amounts can be small, attorney fees may be taken from workers' awards, and justice can be uncertain. Likewise, downwinders and uranium miners deserve equal dignity and equal benefits because their ailments were caused by federal polices -- nuclear proliferation with atmospheric testing and releases of contaminants into the atmosphere. The Nation benefitted from winning the Cold War. It can well afford to compensate the Cold War’s victims, by placing a tax on Nuclear Weapons industry polluters.
DOL Administrative Law Judges -- who also hear whistleblower cases -- learn an awful lot about disability, as some 75% of their caseload is in Black Lung and Longshore Act cases. State court judges have differing levels of interest and expertise in workers' compensation cases, with cases on their dockets ranging from divorce to estates to criminal justice to auto wrecks to medical malpractice. Busy State court judges' patience with workers varies, as does their interest. State judges may be simply afraid of DOE contractors' political clout, or else snowed by scientific "evidence" bought and paid for by DOE and its contractors, with DOE contractors' litigation budgets at high levels to discourage workers from seeking justice.
Mr. Joyce's creative solution, patterned after Black Lung benefits, is for an "interim presumption" based upon the presence of certain disease patterns and the number of years of employment in the nuclear weapons complex. As in early Black Lung filings, the "interim presumption" could greatly simplify workers' compensation litigation that can take on a life of its own, with costs that are disproportionate to the benefits sought. Today, DOE and its contractors fight every radiation and toxic injury claim tooth and toenail, subject to DOE's longstanding policy of avoiding responsibility, which dates back to General Leslie Groves. DOE spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting one Ohio workers' compensation case where the potential payout was a mere widow's mite of some $ 15,000. That is a national disgrace. That is how DOE operates.
No campaign contributions or election campaigns decide who becomes a DOL ALJ. DOL judges are selected as a result of scores on an eight hour written examination, with litigation experience and ratings by judges and lawyers determining who will become a DOL judge.
Nuclear workers could have greater confidence that their case would be decided based solely on the evidence and the law, without fear, favor or prejudice, in a manner that develops one national body of evidentiary case law to apply to all workers and residents hurt by DOE and its facilities.
Rather than letting at least eleven overworked state court systems reach different results on rules of proving causation in complex radiation and toxic injury cases, workers and residents alike would be better served with decisions by independent federal administrative law judges appointed with lifetime tenure subject to good behavior, with review by the Benefits Review
Board. Those decisions could then be appealed to federal appellate courts.
Federal workers compensation for sick workers and residents could be supported by a tax not unlike that assessed on every ton of coal, which goes to pay for Black Lung benefits. What better way to pay for such just compensation than a tax on pollution assessed against corporate polluters?
(An alternative might be an excess profits tax on defense contractors, or a tax on present and former contractors based on the number of weapons grade materials they produced.)
Workers' and residents' fundamental rights to bring other types of civil lawsuits and criminal charges should be preserved inviolate. Full disclosure of all toxic pollution must at last become a reality.
Coal mine dust was known for years to cause disease, but doctors in coal company towns lied to miners and pretended there was no problem. Meanwhile, workers died horrible painful deaths at rates far higher than in Europe. Today history repeats itself in Oak Ridge, with Mr. Joyce noting that there are only ambiguous studies -- studies with conclusions that are ambiguous by DOE's direction, design and control.
Just like the tobacco industry, DOE's minions are adept at portraying uncertainty and ambiguity, when they well know in their hearts what makes workers sick. Unlike the tobacco companies, the DOE weapons complex is owned by all Americans.
The nuclear weapons complex won World War II and the Cold War, and now treats its atomic "veterans" shabbily and disgracefully. Consider the difference between the way we treat combat veterans, compared to veterans of industrial production that supported our war efforts. In World War II, my father jumped out of airplanes and machine-gunned Nazis in Europe as an 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper. He was a war hero, and both America and France gave him medals. At age 86, he still receives VA compensation. He received three Bronze Stars. He is honored in parades. People thanked him for his sacrifice. He speaks to schoolchildren. They named the South Jersey Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association after him (the CPL Edward A. Slavin Chapter).
Hundreds of thousands of men like my dad might have died in hand-to-hand combat in Japan if it were not for the amazing wartime work of Oak Ridge and other sites.
Nuclear weapons plant workers and residents sacrificed their health so that America could win the Cold War and World War II.
Unlike my father, Nuclear Weapons plant workers and Downwinders received no medals, no honors, no thank yous, no compensation -- only layoff slips and concealment (and a double dose of discrimination for those who have the courage to raise environmental, health and safety concerns). Workers and residents who sacrificed their health for the Cold War should be treated as national heroes, to whom our country owes justice (not JUST US), a fair day in a fair court, full appeal rights, just compensation for illness, injury and death, and competent state-of-the-art health care from independent medical professionals of their choice -- not DOE’s choice of doctors.
The President and Vice President have not shown leadership. DOE and DOJ have not shown leadership. They have not shown statesmanship. Instead, they seek to divide and conquer, one group at a time, preventing a global solution, playing favorites, attempting to drive a wedge between its victims, creating separate classes and treating the victims like unruly school children, insulting them, condescending to them, and refusing to talk sense. They should be ashamed of themselves.
DOE’s proposal of a $100,000 bribe payment adds insult to injury: DOE has decided to add payoffs to layoffs. DOE has shown contempt for human rights. Just say no.
DOE and its contractors spent indecent amounts of tax money fighting their just compensation for injuries and discrimination. This is a national disgrace. Nuclear weapons plant victims deserve laws and rules that allow independent and experienced judges, full discovery, and open public trials at reasonable costs, including low-cost access to trial transcripts under the Freedom of Information Act.
With sick, disabled and dead people from Hanford to Utah to New Mexico to Oak Ridge to Portsmouth, Paducah and Mound, afflicted by illnesses reasonably believed to have been caused by toxins flowing from the Nuclear Weapons business, it makes a great deal of sense to let both workers and residents who are injured have a fair remedy, with fair rules, in a neutral DOL forum that adjudicates workers' cases full-time, with greater independence and expertise. Prompt decisions and payments must be assured.
The victims of DOE must unite -- every single one of them. The people are ready now.
As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “you can take what you want if you are organized.”
Ed Slavin [was] a lawyer who represents DOE site workers and whistleblowers in occupations ranging from technicians to investigators to engineers to judges He was Legal Counsel for Constitutional Rights with the Government Accountability Project, 1989-1993, and clerked for the Hon. Nahum Litt, who was Chief Administrative Law Judge of the U.S. Department of Labor. He was Editor of the Appalachian Observer, a Clinton, Tennessee weekly where he wrote extensively on Oak Ridge pollution, winning declassification of the Oak Ridge mercury losses on May 17, 1983, with the local District Attorney recommending him for a Pulitzer Prize. Ed testified on July 11, 1983 before then-Rep. Albert Gore Jr., endorsing criminal prosecution of Oak Ridge polluters. He has published seven articles in American Bar Association publications on human rights issues and is author of a book on Jimmy Carter for high school students. He is a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and Memphis State University Law School. His mother was in 1930 a victim of an early x-ray radiation experiment at age 11 for putative “cosmetic” purposes: it took her twelve years to bear her only child. (DOE responded to her letter to Secretary O’Leary by stating her exposures were beyond the scope of DOE’s human experimentation disclosures).
St. Petersburg TImes: JOHN LUIGI MICA Defends Support for Offshore Oil Drilling Off Florida's Coasts
May 13, 2010
Rep. John Mica isn't shifting on offshore drilling
U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park, affirms his position on offshore oil drilling. He's still for it. From a release today:
My position on drilling for gas and oil remain the same. I have always advocated drilling based on sound science, technology and employing safe measures, taking into consideration depths and currents. Unfortunately most of the past restrictions on drilling have been based on politics rather than sound science and safe procedures.
Based on what has occurred in the gulf, I would urge Congress to make certain that proper safeguards are required including a failsafe shutoff valve, and having a standby mechanism like the dome in place with tried and proven technology available before rather than after the fact.
With 3,400 oil and 600 gas rigs already in the Gulf of Mexico, action on insuring against another disaster is important. Furthermore, even if Florida has a 100, 125, 150 or 200 mile ban and other states and countries like Mexico allow close or deepwater rigs, our state can still remain at risk without these protective measures.
Posted by Aaron Sharockm
Sen. Bill Nelson is on the Senate floor arguing for a bill that would increase the cap for oil spill damages to $10 billion from $75 million.
"I'm not sure $10 billion is going to be enough," the Florida Democrat said. "But it was a target. Let's hope it never gets to that. But thus far, nothing has worked."
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is speaking now, objecting to the bill. She said $10 billion in liability would hurt smaller independent companies. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., scoffed at the "mom and pop" allusion.
UPDATE: Murkowski's objection dashes hope for a quick vote, as unanimous consent would be needed. "I’m really disappointed some of my colleagues decided to block the legislation to hold BP accountable for this environmental disaster," Nelson said in a statement afterward.
In a Tweet he added, "Senator from Alaska just sandbagged my bill."
Kudos to AMCD Chairwoman Jeanne Moeller and Commissioners John Sundeman, Janice Bequette and Ronald Radford for voting for accountability, transparency and integrity.
In 2010, thanks to their leadership, AMCD rightly rejected the multi-milllion dollar building that its managers had pushed it to build for years.
In 2007, after eight months of discussion, AMCD rightly killed a $1.8 million no-bid Textron Bell Long Ranger Jet Helicopter purchase rubberstamped by the ancien regime under the Chairmanship of Barbara Bosanko and then-AMCD lawyer Geoffrey Dobson under the pretext of it was "sole source." The new board got an $81,000 refund of our deposit.
We don't need a helicopter.
We don't need a new building.
We don't need managers who spend money without authorization.
Applying for SJRWMD and DEP permits without permission was wrong.
Signing contracts without AMCD board approval was wrong.
Using propaganda photos of deferred maintenance items to sway the board was wrong.
Record reporter Peter Guinta's walking up to Chairwoman Moeller and saying she wasn't doing an adequate job of controlling Commissioner John Sundeman was wrong.
I reckon that Record Senior Reporter Peter Guinta needs to write a column again where he can express his opinions freely, without pretending to be "objective."
His former column was brilliant.
However, his opinionated remarks about the board having "wasted" money are merely opinions. The board learned how much a new building would costs and has the plans should it ever need one.
There is enough corruption and waste in St. Johns County to go around. It's great to see AMCD once again stand up against waste.
BY PETER GUINTA
ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH -- The chairwoman of Anastasia Mosquito Control District's board of directors said Thursday night that the district's plan to move its headquarters inland is "dead."
Chairwoman Jeanne Moeller said, "I am the swing vote on this project, and I will not vote to move it forward,"
So years of planning and hundreds of thousands of tax dollars that were spent to move its vulnerable base station at 500 Old Beach Road to 18.5 inland acres off State Road 16 are apparently wasted.
Board members Col. Ron Radford and Vivian Browning had supported the move out of the hurricane zone. John Sundeman and Janice Bequette didn't.
But last month, she took a decided turn against and voted to put the project on hold.
Part of the reason she declared it dead on Thursday was her receipt of documents from an unnamed source Saturday that initiated a lack of trust in district staff, especially for Assistant Director Priscilla Greene.
Greene, a West Point graduate, was hired in March 2008 to help Director Rui-de Xue run the district.
Under Moeller's urging, the board voted 4-1 Thursday night to fire Greene and eliminate her position.
She accused Greene of signing a contract with a telephone company without telling the board and signing and mailing a $76,970 check to an engineering consultant to pay for Department of Environmental Protection and St. Johns River Water Management District permits for the new headquarters.
"She is not to sign contracts," Moeller said. "Only the board may sign contracts. I have concerns about staff transparency, integrity and honesty."
The district needs those permits to build its headquarters.
Greene stayed calm and silent before her accuser, but finally said, "I don't know about any motion last month about stopping the project. That money had been approved by the board."
On Thursday, Moeller cleared up any doubt about where she stood about the move and about Greene.
"I want (Greene) reprimanded or terminated. This is absolutely appalling," she said.
Just moments before, Green had given the board a report illustrating the deficiencies of its current base station.
Her report included photos of deteriorating sections of the headquarters building, roof leaks, rusting beams, a settling foundation, a 1960 backup generator, structural cracks in buildings, leaking skylights and a deteriorating beam in the chemical tank area.
Julieann Klein, a certified public accountant for Lombardo, Spradley & Klein, Daytona Beach, told the board that upgrading the current compound would cost $1.3 million. To rebuild the current base station would cost $2 million and to build near State Road 16 would cost $2.7 million.
Board member Vivian Browning, the lone vote for Greene, said board inaction has wasted years.
"We're fiddling while Rome burns," she said. To Sundeman, she said, "You're basically picking apart reports and asking for more information. We need a secure storage area for information. Right now our personnel and accounting records are in a shed outside. And have we determined if we have an extended ability to operate off site? I don't think we do."
Sundeman called the report "a propaganda slide show. We're not getting a true picture here."
He made the motion to terminate Greene, saying, "We have a right to terminate her at any time." That motion was seconded by Moeller, who said, "We can't have people who handle our money keep things from this board."
Upon advice of board attorney Douglas Wyckoff, the board will issue Greene a letter saying that she has the chance to have a hearing before her termination.
But the board learned that even if Greene convinces them not to terminate, her job has already been eliminated.
Browning criticized the board's internal backbiting.
"The 'gotcha' factor around her is ridiculous," she said. "Nobody should be treated as (Greene) was treated here tonight."
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Man Indicted for Civil Rights Conspiracy in Connection with Cross-Burning in Athens, Louisiana
WASHINGTON – Joshua James Moro, 23, has been indicted by a federal grand jury for participating in a civil rights conspiracy in connection with an October 2008 cross-burning in Athens, La., near the home of an interracial couple. Moro was arrested today following the return of the indictment on April 28, 2010.
Moro was charged with one count of conspiring to interfere with another person’s civil rights. If convicted, he faces a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison.
Moro’s co-conspirator and cousin, Daniel Earl Danforth, was convicted this past January for conspiring to burn a cross, using fire to commit a federal felony and obstruction of justice charges stemming from this same cross-burning. According to the evidence at Danforth’s trial, on or about Oct. 23, 2008, Moro agreed to help Danforth build, erect and burn a cross near the homes of their cousin, who lived with an African-American man and an 11-year-old son, and other relatives who were believed to approve of the interracial relationship. Specifically, Moro agreed to get diesel fuel for Danforth to use to burn the cross. The evidence at Danforth’s trial established that as part of the conspiracy, Danforth and others built a cross out of small pine trees and transported the cross to an area adjacent to the victims’ homes, where they set it on fire in order to intimidate the interracial couple.
This case was investigated by the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary J. Mudrick for the Western District of Louisiana and Trial Attorney Erin Aslan from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
The charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
McClatchy News Service: Republicans Oppose Governor Crist's Call for Special Legislative Session on Offshore Oil Drilling Constitutional Amendment
GOP leaders blast Crist's call for special legislative session
TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Charlie Crist's announcement Tuesday that he would call a special legislative session this month to ask voters to ban oil drilling off Florida's coast and revive renewable energy legislation immediately sparked an angry clash between the independent Crist and his former Republican colleagues.
Crist said that because of the Gulf oil disaster, "it's appropriate for the people of Florida'' to have a chance to vote on a constitutional amendment to ban oil drilling in Florida waters -- between the beach and 10.6 miles offshore. He also wants to use the session to revive incentives for renewable-energy legislation.
"I want to talk about wind, nuclear, solar, natural gas and other alternative means to provide energy to our people,'' Crist said. He added that he was not sure whether he or legislative leaders would formally call the session.
But the governor's suggestion of bringing lawmakers back to Tallahassee the week of May 24 without a consensus on the energy issues sparked harsh rebukes from House and Senate leaders.
House Speaker Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, blasted Crist's call for a special session as "a political ploy to promote the future of politicians.'' In a statement, Cretul said state leaders and resources should focus on "solving the real problem at hand, not fighting political campaigns at taxpayers' expense.''
Incoming Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, who had been the Legislature's strongest advocate for opening Florida waters to oil drilling, agreed that a special session was unnecessary because of a federal ban that now prohibits oil drilling 125 miles off state beaches.
"State and federal law already prohibits oil drilling off of Florida's shores, and lifting the ban will be off the table while I am speaker, so a special session to address it is unwarranted,'' Cannon said in a statement.
Clean-energy advocates say the Gulf oil spill has increased the need for the state to promote alternatives to fossil fuels and challenge the critics who claim it will cost more than traditional fuels.
"It is critical we take an honest look at the power of energy generation in Florida,'' said Susan Glickman of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. "In many cases, clean, renewable energy is comparable in cost to traditional fossil fuels but, if you added the costs of the oil spill, respiratory diseases caused by pollution, the cost of greenhouse gas emissions and the sea level rise, the real costs are countless.''
Whether Crist can build consensus on any of these issues amid the new political dynamics in Florida's capital is unknown. Since he first angered lawmakers by vetoing a teacher merit-pay bill supported by most GOP lawmakers, and then severed ties with the Republican Party and announced he would seek election to the U.S. Senate without party affiliation, the relationship between the governor and Republican legislative leaders has turned bitter.
Crist can issue a proclamation calling the Legislature into special session but, once convened, lawmakers do not have to pass anything.
The politics of offshore drilling were on full display at Tuesday's Florida Cabinet meeting. The two Cabinet members who hope to succeed Crist in the governor's mansion echoed Crist's call for a special session.
Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a Democrat, thanked him ``for wanting to let the voters of Florida have their say.''
McCollum, a Republican, noted he has been "opposed to it [drilling] all along'' but said the proposed amendment needed to be "very carefully worded'' so it did not restrict "new scientific options that may come along.''
Republican Former St. Johns County Commission Chair THOMAS G. MANUEL is now federal prisoner number #32566-018, incarcerated at the federal prison in Butner, North Carolina.
MANUEL was not the first public official in St. Johns County to take a bribe.
We need an anti-bribery campaign in St. Johns County and St. Augustine and the other government agencies here. A St. Augustine Record editorial didn't quite call for that, as I have for months. Instead, it acts like bribery was a one-time event instead of commonplace.
How revealing -- the Record ignores the evidence of its own senses, refuses to print the news and praises GEORGE McCLURE (of all people), a seedy lobbyist for environmental devastators, who gets off on his representing speculators like ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBARD.
Of course, people who are offered bribes should turn in the bribepayer.
Of course, people who are asked to give bribes should turn in the public official.
A culture of corruption can be changed one day at a time, just as courageous citizens have done in Sicily.
Stand up to bribepayers and bribetakers, who destroy our democracy.
Interesting that there's still never been one editorial in local newspapers against bribery and calling for an anti-bribery campaign, even though our former Republican County Commission Chair THOMAS MANUEL is pleading guilty tomorrow, after ndictment for bribery,for accepting $60,000.
In fact, when MANUEL pled guilty, the WRecKord omitted the fact that MANUEL was a REPUBLICAN.
One-party rule wasn't even relevant to the two reporters who covered the MANUEL plea. (A chronology did say "GOP", but neither article said "REPUBLICAN.")
In fact, when former NYC Police Commissioner (and George W. Bush Homeland Security nominee) BERNARD KERIK was sentenced to four years in prison, the WrecKord omitted that fact too.
Oleaginous St. Augustine corporate lawyer GEORGE McCLURE, longtime developer lawyer who shows his open contempt for public particpation in government, was scheduled to be a witness against MANUEL. Did McCLURE get a deal from federal prosecutors? If not, why would be McCLURE testifying? Is this a sudden pang of conscience after inflicting so many ugly, tree-killing, wetland-destroying projects on our community?
What do you reckon?
Will St. Johns County and St. Augustine return to business as usual?
We are advised this morning by the Bureau of Prisons, United States Department of Justice, that "Thomas G. Manuel" [prisoner number] #32566-018 reported on March 12, 2010" to the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Butner, N.C.
THOMAS G. MANUEL pled guilty to bribery.
MANUEL was Chairman of the St. Johns County Commission at the time of his arrest.
MANUEL was part of the Republican machine that has subjected St. Johns County to misrule for decades.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Monday night, the City of St. Augustine passed a resolution 4-1 opposing oil drilling in Florida's waters to protect beaches and tourism. It joins the City of St. Augustine Beach, which passed an identical resolution one week before. See below.
Florida does not want offshore oil drilling, which could kill our beaches, marches and economy. In the immortal words of Sir Winston Spencer Churchill, "we shall fight them on the beaches."
On November 2, St. Augustine and St. Johns County voters must reject oleaginous oil lobbyists like our sorry Seventh District U.S. Rep. JOHN LUIGI MICA (R-Winter Park) and his brother DAVID MICA, Executive Director of the Florida Petroleum Council (part of the American Petroleum Institute) and his daughter D'ANNE (an oil PR person) and his son J. CLARK MICA (Fertilizer Institute lobbyist).
There are no oil refineries in Florida. There's a reason for that -- we want clean beaches, clean marshes, and a green economy based on environmental and historic tourism. Thanks to City of St. Augustine Beach Mayor Brud Helhoski, Vice Mayor Andrea Samuels and Commissioners Edward George and Richard O'Brien for supporting the resolution. Thanks to City of St. Augustine Mayor Joseph Boles, Vice Mayor Errol Jones, Commissioners Leeana Freeman and Nancy Sikes-Kline for supporting the resolution.
St. Augustine is hereby officially declared to be a no-bullying zone -- rabid hate sites, we are watching you! Racist, sexist, homophobes repent.
As Thomas Jefferson said, we "have sworn upon the altar of Almighty God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind" of humankind.
To those "Anonymice" who post hate speech anonymously, chilling First Amendment free speech rights, remember, "you can run but you can't hide," in Joe Louis' immortal words.
IN HAEC VERBA: St. Augustine Beach Resolution 10-6, opposing further offshore oil drilling off Florida's coasts
CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH
ST. JOHNS COUNTY, FLORIDA
RE: OPPOSING THE APPROVAL OF OIL DRILLING IN FLORIDA’S WATERS IN AREAS OTHER THAN THOSE ALREADY APPROVED FOR OIL LEASING AND OIL EXPLORATION AND SUPPORTING THE SEARCH FOR ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES, PROTECTING FLORIDA’S TOURISM INDUSTRY, AND PRESERVING FLORIDA’S BEACHES
WHEREAS, Florida’s economy depends on its multi-billion dollar tourism industry, which resulted in more than 82 million visitors coming to Florida in 2008, during which period tourism generated over $4.0 billion in taxable sales; and
WHEREAS, tourism accounts for one-third of Florida’s budget revenue, and 96% of those visitors cite the beaches as an influential factor in their decision to visit Florida; and
WHEREAS, tax revenues generated from Florida’s growing tourism industry are critical to continued funding of essential governmental services, including transportation, schools, and public safety; and
WHEREAS, oil rigs and the pipelines that support them, including their required setback areas, severely limit access to the scarce sand sources that are vital for Florida’s beach renourishment program; and
WHEREAS, a 2007 report by the U.S. Department of Energy shows that opening the Florida coast to drilling as close as three miles would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil prices before 2010, if ever; that it is not economically feasible to drill for oil in certain offshore areas; and even if all available areas were opened, at the peak of production, it would have little, if any, effect on price; and
WHEREAS, nearly 80 per cent of estimated U.S. oil reserves are already currently available to exploration and more than 68 million acres are available to drill, and the U.S. is the third largest oil producer at over 7 million barrels of oil per day; and
WHEREAS, the area with the potential for the greatest risk of environmental damage is the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico, three miles off the western coast of Florida; and
WHEREAS, environmental specialist contend the major risk from drilling platforms is the wastewater they routinely discharge, which contains drilling fluids and heavy metals including mercury; and
WHEREAS, according to oil industry data, an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico can dump up to 90,000 tons of drilling fluid and metal cuttings over its lifetime. These contaminants accumulate in the marine food web and may contaminate local beaches and have a negative effect on the environment and the tourism industry; and
WHEREAS, near shore drilling creates an environmental threat to marine mammals whereby mechanical sounds carry through the water for hundreds of miles and have been known to cause permanent hearing loss and also disrupts their feeding, migration, social bonding, and have been associated with stranded whales; and
WHEREAS, it is our belief that despite technological advances in oil drilling technology, there is no positive assurance that catastrophic damage to our coastline, beaches, plant and fish life could be avoided during normal operating conditions or during storm situations; and
WHEREAS, there is no assurance that oil companies will not become more interested in developing the near shore Atlantic coast; and
WHEREAS, lifting the moratorium on mineral leasing in the Gulf of Mexico poses an intolerable threat to the beaches, waterways, and economy of Florida;
WHEREAS, the City Commission of the City of St Augustine Beach supports further development of non-fossil fuel energy sources, such as solar and wind energy, etc.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Commission of the City of St. Augustine Beach, St. Johns County, Florida, that we strongly encourage all elected officials at the County, State and Federal levels to oppose legislative attempts to allow near shore oil drilling expansion past the areas already approved for pre-leasing, leasing, and oil production activities and to take immediate steps to encourage and assist in the development of alternative sources of energy.
RESOLVED AND DONE, this 3rd day of May, 2010, by the City Commission of the City of St. Augustine Beach, St. Johns County, Florida.
Mayor – Commissioner
By Bill Nelson
"For a successful technology, reality must take
precedence over public relations, for nature cannot
OUR VIEW: Don't use oil spill as excuse to deep-six
That's what Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard
Feynman said in 1986. Judging by recent events, it's
more true today than ever.
The failure of the Deepwater Horizon test well in the
Gulf of Mexico is a horrible tragedy. But hopefully,
it will be something from which we gain wisdom.
We still don't know how bad it will be, but some
scientists say the Gulf loop currents could take this
oil to the Florida Keys, and then to the southeast
part of the state.
BP's CEO, Tony Hayward, acknowledged to me that
economic damages will exceed the current $75
million cap on liability for drilling accidents. So I've
joined with Sens. Robert Menendez and Frank
Lautenberg of New Jersey to introduce legislation to
raise that cap to $10 billion. I've also joined with
Rep. Kendrick Meek of Florida in calling for
moratoria on offshore oil exploration and drilling in
new areas. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar likely will
adopt changes I and others have asked for
regarding the regulators who inspect oil rigs,
investigate oil companies and enforce safety
Meantime, the scope of this crisis in the Gulf should
prompt the president and all lawmakers to re-
examine Big Oil's safety claims and call for a halt to
the industry's push for drilling in new offshore
Over the past four decades, I've fought the
industry's immensely powerful lobby in Washington
to keep oil rigs away from Florida and other coastal
states. I've argued that a big spill could not only
harm Florida's tourism-driven economy and unique
environment, but also usurp the country's last major
military training and testing range in the eastern
Whether offshore drilling ever becomes safer, there
just isn't enough oil in the eastern Gulf or along
most of the Atlantic seaboard to justify the
enormous risks from a blowout, spill or shipping
accident, like the Exxon Valdez.
On the broader energy issue, America must lessen
its reliance on foreign oil. But there's no need to
expand drilling into new areas. Oil and gas
companies right now have some 31 million acres
under lease in parts of the Gulf where they aren't
even drilling yet.
The ultimate answer to America's energy needs lies
not in oil, but in the rapid development of
And I think we can help pay for an accelerated
national energy program by ending the billions of
dollars in giveaways to Big Oil, by making sure it
pays all its taxes and royalties.
Bill Nelson, a Democrat, is the senior U.S. senator
MICHAEL GOLD f/k/a "MICHAEL TOBIN" publishes HISTORIC CITY MEDIA and hate websites plazabum.com and shamefulpeople.com. GOLD invites contributions using Paypal and credit cards, formerly invited hate site posters to click on Google(R) ads (forbidden by Google AdSense contract), raised $250,000 for SHERIFF DAVID SHOAR f/k/a "DAVID HOAR," and generally behaves as an anti-literate energumen, publishing racist, sexist, misogynist, homophobic, anti-Gay and anti-progressive propaganda and last week was mistakenly invited by AMTRAK to ride with public officials (and AMTRAK's CEO) on a demonstration train from Miami to Jacksonville.
Here begineth the hate site, announced by MICHAEL GOLD f/k/a "MICHAEL TOBIN," who stated that plazabum.com was started not by him, but by a "downtown merchant." Secretary of State Records show the address for GOLD's "HISTORIC CITY COMPANIES" was first a WHETSTONE storage unit and now 100 WHETSTONE PLACE. Will the WHETSTONES and SHERIFF DAVID SHOAR disavow GOLD and all his works and pomps?
Guest column: Don't feed the freeloaders
By MICHAEL GOLD St. Augustine
Saturday, December 23, 2006 ; Updated: 6:51 AM on Saturday, December 23, 2006
It is time for the citizens of St. Augustine to say "enough". Our community and it's viability as a prime tourism destination is threatened by gypsy panhandlers who have been informed that our city is an "easy mark."
You might be surprised to learn that the increased number of bums and freeloaders inhabiting the plaza and historic district are not just here by accident. There is an organized anarchist group known as the "Squatter Culture" who (sic) exists (sic) primarily to make what they consider a political statement.
Their manifesto (sic) message is anti-establishment, anti-government and anti-police (sic), but, oddly enough, they are very well informed about social programs and services which we make available through government subsidies, taxes, and donations.
The refusal of the Squatter Culture (sic) to work has nothing to do with their ability to work. They should not be confused with honest citizens who find themselves unemployed; in financial stress but able bodied and looking for new jobs. Squatters do not qualify for unemployment benefits because they weren't working in the first place.
Squatters should not be confused with the handicapped. They do not qualify for disability benefits because they are not disabled.
Simply put they do not work to support themselves because they refuse to support "the system." Rather, they spend their energies plotting ways to exhaust the services and programs "the system" can manage to provide.
These parasites and leeches did not randomly target St. Augustine. Their organization (sic) provides information to members through sophisticated means like the public Internet. The hobos that you see loitering around our public libraries and in cyber cafes where Internet access is freely provided are there for a reason. Once again, they use our resources to their benefit.
Tourism and travel Web sites are now issuing "travel advisories" cautioning travelers about the possibility of being approached by panhandlers who squat in our historic district. That is unconscionable.
St. Augustine is a "park and walk" tourist community and we have spent a king's ransom building a new parking facility to promote that concept. Our best efforts will be for naught if we do not take the necessary steps to rid ourselves of vagrant beggars in the historic district.
We need to send a strong message to the "Squatter Culture" that St. Augustine is no longer a "squatter-friendly" town for everyone with their hand out. We need to close down their wooded campsites along the railroad tracks and raise our voices to those who have the responsibility to enact and enforce any required ordinances.
We need to say -- in no uncertain terms -- that as a community, we are doing everything that we possibly can to protect the safety, convenience and enjoyment of visitors to America's Oldest City and that we will continue providing a premier vacation destination.
For those who are interested in this discussion or would like to add comments, a downtown merchant started a Web site where he intends to expose the problem and what some feel is the inaction of certain commissioners to address the problem properly. His site is PLAZABUM.COM and is free.
(end of Plazabum a/k/a MICHAEL GOLD's illiterate rant in the Record two days before Christmas, 2006)
Commentary by Ed Slavin: Notice the date -- two days before Christmas.
While normal people were heeding Jesus Christ's message of peace and love, compassion and hope, MICHAEL GOLD and his soulless gang of thugs were showing their "family values" (hatred).
The ideology of Plazabum is beneath contempt.
Like a Pharisse, MICHAEL GOLD "values" hounding homeless poor people out of town and urges people not to help the homeless, at Christmastime.
That is uncouth, unkind, uncharitable, unChristian and unAmerican.
These haters; sins have found them out.
Their lying lips are an abomination in the site of GOd.
MICHAEL GOLD is none other than Controversial St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID SHOAR's former campaign manager. http://staugustine.com/stories/090904/opi_2558742.shtml
Does Sheriff SHOAR approve of GOLD's hateful rantings? Will Sheriff SHOAR and his Marketplace lunch gathering condemn GOLD's nastiness directed against African-Americans, women, gays and progressives? Or does SHOAR back GOLD?
Need I say that MICHAEL GOLD is a graduate of Reichwing FLAGLER COLLEGE, which has no tenure and where police officers have used the n----- word in class without correction by at least one professor?
Need I note that a NIC on GOLD's website has overtones of pedophilia, with a logo of a man and a boy, with the man stating to the boy, "Why don't you go out and play hide and go f--- yourself?"
Disreputable, reactionary, rabidly racist, sneering, homophobic radical Republican apparatchik MICHAEL GOLD neglects to mention the real "freeholders" -- Wall Street and City Hall satraps, hierarchical, authoritarian, anti-labor, anti-environmental snakes, snoots and snobs.
That would include the overpaid, underworked public officials who post on Plazabum, people who don't know what an honest day's work is (Operating as JR Uniforms, MICHAEL GOLD sells uniforms to local governments, sometimes without competitive bidding, for a total of more than $606,000 sold to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Department in the last eight years.).
I hereby challenge MICHAEL GOLD and his Plazabum minions to appear before the St. Augustine City Commission and explain themselves.
How many inconsiderate City officials are not-so-secret Plazabum posters, sitting on their considerable keesters, typing hate into government computers while on the public payroll (dole), just as they were at Talk of the Town?
That's why Plazabum is very well named -- these bums in government offices deserve to hear from the voters -- throw the bums out!
Their cowardly actions may constitute sins, torts and crimes -- including obstruction of justice when they seek to intimidate city employees and whistleblowers who disclose environmental crimes (like illegal dumping of solid waste in our Old City Reservoir and sewage effluent in our Matanzas River).
Our City's tourism is way down, in no small part because Plazabum gives us a sleazy reputation on the Internet. This low-class bunch of perverts is like the ugly billboards that greet visitors to the City -- no way to welcome tourists.
We need a St. Augustine National Historical Park, National Seashore and National Scenic Coastal Highway. Never noticed any support from the denizens of ToTT or Plazabum -- they're strictly tiresome. tawdry knife-throwers with no ideas -- a public nuisance.
Our Founders pledged "our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor" to defending liberty. These Plazabum bums don't like liberty and use "liberal" (root: liberty) as a swear word. Color these "Plazabums" misguided miscreants who should pray to God for forgiveness.
St. Augustine, FLorida 32085-3084
May 5, 2010
Honorable Jonathan Leibowitz, Chairman
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20580 via fax to 202-326-3442
Re: “HISTORIC CITY MEDIA,” PLAZABUM.COM and SHAMEFULPEOPLE.COM
IN ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA – UNFAIR AND DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICES IN VIOLATION OF SECTION 5, FTC ACT OF 1914 AND ANTITRUST LAWS
Dear Chairman Leibowitz:
Respondent HISTORIC CITY MEDIA is a website operated by MICHAEL GOLD f/k/a “MICHAEL TOBIN.’ HISTORIC CITY MEDIA and GOLD/TOBIN operate two hate websites, plazbum.com and shamefulpeople.com, which are engaged in hate speech, to -- racist, misogynist, sexist, homophobic, obscene and indecent, directing anger at local activists in St. Augustine and St. Johns County and calling for the homeless to be run out of town.
Will you please direct the staff to investigate whether HISTORIC CITY MEDIA, the front for two hate websites, is violating Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act by engaging in unfair and deceptive trade practices in interstate commerce? HISTORIC CITY MEDIA’s trade dress and presentation recently misled AMTRAK officials. A web search by AMTRAK misled AMTRAK into thinking that HISTORIC CITY MEDIA was a responsible journalistic outlet, resulting in AMTRAK inviting MICHAEL GOLD et ux to ride on a May 1, 2010 Inspection Tour of the route of possible train service from Miami to Jacksonville, Florida. HISTORIC CITY MEDIA’s website misled AMTRAK into giving GOLD et ux two valuable tickets on the Inspection Trip, wasting AMTRAK resources and giving faux credibility to KKK-style hate websites. Enough.
Under your Chairmanship and President Obama’s leadership, we look forward to FTC investigating and prosecuting Respondents to the fullest extent of the law, without fear or favor.
Bad news for former Ponte Vedra broker Michael J. DiMare. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced today that it had permanently barred him from the securities industry for misappropriating over $1.9 million in client funds."FINRA will continue to bar individuals who engage in deceit and theft with no regard for the high standards of ethical conduct that govern the industry," James S. Shorris, FINRA Executive Vice President and Executive Director of Enforcement, said in a statement. "By deceiving customers into believing they were making legitimate investments when, in reality, he was simply enriching himself, DiMare epitomized the darkest side of the securities industry."
Court records show that DiMare was a broker with hundreds of clients from 1990 to 2008. He sold investment and insurance for several firms, including John Hancock Financial Services and ING Financial Services.DiMare offered investors “tax-free corporate bonds,” securities that never existed. He told some investors the bonds were issued due to hurricanes that hit the state in 2004. He said those bonds were being offered for the first three months of 2005 at a quarterly return of about 8 percent.DiMare offered similar types of fraudulent investments to clients before 2004, as well. The investors were told they had to start fresh accounts with DiMare and couldn’t transfer any money from existing John Hancock or ING investments.DiMare deposited the money into a bank account he opened in 2001 under his name, doing business as John Hancock Financial Services. The investment firm never authorized the account.
IN HAEC VERBA: Financial Institution Regulatory Authority on Banning DiMare from Securities Industry
|For Release: |
Florida Broker Barred for Selling Phony Financial Products, Taking More Than $1.9 Million From Clients
Broker Created False Documents to Further Scheme, Induce Customers to Invest in Fictitious CDs and Bonds
Washington, DC — The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced today that it has permanently barred Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, registered representative Michael J. DiMare from the securities industry for misappropriating over $1.9 million in client funds – while making false statements and sending falsified account statements and other documents statements to his customers to hide his scheme.
"FINRA will continue to bar individuals who engage in deceit and theft with no regard for the high standards of ethical conduct that govern the industry," said James S. Shorris, FINRA Executive Vice President and Executive Director of Enforcement. "By deceiving customers into believing they were making legitimate investments when, in reality, he was simply enriching himself, DiMare epitomized the darkest side of the securities industry."
FINRA found that from at least 2001 to 2008, DiMare persuaded his clients to invest in fictitious financial products, including what purported to be tax-free corporate bonds and CDs. Between 2001 and 2006, DiMare was employed as a sales manager with John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company. Between October 2006 and May 2008, DiMare was registered as a registered representative/insurance agent with ING Financial Partners, Inc.
FINRA's investigation found that 14 of DiMare's clients wrote checks payable to John Hancock, believing they were making legitimate investments. DiMare simply collected the checks and deposited them in his own bank account and diverted their funds to his personal use. Even after he left John Hancock, DiMare made false statements to his customers by telling them he was still employed at that firm and had them write checks to John Hancock, which he then converted to his own use.
To conceal his misconduct, DiMare prepared and provided his clients with false account statements purporting to be from John Hancock. Those statements falsely indicated that the clients owned investments in tax-free corporate bonds and CDs.
Customers whose funds were misappropriated or converted by DiMare were reimbursed by John Hancock and ING.
In concluding this settlement, DiMare neither admitted nor denied the charges, but consented to the entry of FINRA's findings.
Investors can obtain more information about, and the disciplinary record of, any FINRA-registered broker or brokerage firm by using FINRA's BrokerCheck. FINRA makes BrokerCheck available at no charge. In 2009, members of the public used this service to conduct 18.5 million reviews of broker or firm records. Investors can access BrokerCheck at www.finra.org/brokercheck or by calling (800) 289-9999.
FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is the largest non-governmental regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States. FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation and complementary compliance and technology-based services. FINRA touches virtually every aspect of the securities business – from registering and educating all industry participants to examining securities firms, writing and enforcing rules and the federal securities laws, informing and educating the investing public, providing trade reporting and other industry utilities, and administering the largest dispute resolution forum for investors and registered firms. For more information, please visit our Web site at www.finra.org.
View Michael J. DiMare Action (PDF 120 KB)
Oil is thicker than water, but Blood is thicker than both.
His brother is an oil lobbyist.
His overly-influential daughter represents the Consumers Alliance for Affordable Natural Gas and the Citizens Alliance for Energy Security in support of increased access to offshore oil & natural gas.
His son works for a questionable trade association that lobbies energy regulatory issues.
But what’s thicker than Blood? Money.
John Mica has accepted over $60,000.00 in Oil Money
Not that they needed to pay soo much. Mica in 2005: "I voted to drill in the Everglades in the 1970s…and I'd do it again."
Heather Beaven is up against Mica. She has a formidable battle because of gerrymandering (something else we can fix this upcoming election), but she can win with you help.
Posted on August 8 2008 by Congress Watcher
Incumbent Congressman David Davis loved getting campaign checks from big oil companies – right up until last night, when he discovered that he had lost the Republicans primary.
David Davis supported offshore drilling, but his Republican challenger ran a campaign criticizing offshore drilling for crude oil. The campaign against offshore drilling won – and among conservative Southern Republican voters.
If I were a Republican in the House of Representatives right now, I would reconsider pushing the idea of offshore drilling. The American people don’t seem to be as gullible as big oil thinks we are.
Consider the issue, and it’s plain to see why. Expanding offshore drilling wouldn’t bring a drop of oil to the marketplace for years and years, and even then, the amount of oil would be so tiny that it could only bring gasoline prices down by a few pennies per gallon.
At the same time, all that offshore oil drilling would release heavy metals like lead, mercury and cadmium into the water, and the risk of oil spills fouling America’s beaches would skyrocket. At the same time, America’s fossil fuel economy would become even more vulnerable to hurricanes than before.
Offshore drilling is a stupid idea. Even a Republican voter can see that.
MICHAEL GOLD f/k/a "MICHAEL TOBIN," operator of "HISTORIC CITY NEWS," a front for two politically-motivated hate websites (plazabum.com and shamefulpeople.com), which are racist, misogynist, sexist, anti-Gay, homophobic; his family is a longtime vendor of no-bid uniforms to St. Johns County Sheriff, bagman for Sheriff DAVID SHOAR f/k/a "DAVID HOAR," for whom he raised more than $250,000, and shill for attacking those who hold governments accountable in corrupt St. Johns County and St. Augustine.
Photo (C) 2010 Clean Up City of St. Augustine, Florida
From hate website front: HISTORIC CITY NEWS:
Would you donate to our news journal?
Thanks to St. Augustine Beach and St. Augustine for Passing Resolution Against Offshore Oil Drilling
Thanks to four out of five Commissioners at COSA (but not Crichlow).
Thanks especially to Robin Nadeau, Gina Burrell, Dr. Patricia Gill, and other local activists for turning out.
Decisions are made by people who show up.
No thanks to the St. Augustine Record, whose editor, Peter Ellis, wrote me hostile E-mails last week, stating that this issue was not "important," refusing to cover the story until nine (9) days after SAB had voted.
The Record ran front page stories on COSA considering but not approving the resolution.
The Record buried today's story on page A-3, with lackluster coverage that failed to convey the informed nature of the debate before SAB in particular.
Does the Record wish to discourage civic activism by "cutting off the news at its source," in the immortal words of the late investigative reporting columnist Jack Anderson?
What do you reckon?
Here's the Record's meek story today:
Commissions oppose offshore drilling
City, Beach officials reverse anti-ban stance
What a difference a major oil spill makes.
Two cities that previously rejected calls to ban offshore oil drilling have revised their stands and passed resolutions calling for a ban.
St. Augustine Commissioners voted 4-1 Monday on a resolution to ban drilling, with Commissioner Don Crichlow voting against it.
In late March, when Commissioner Leanna Freeman first proposed that the City Commission pass a resolution opposing offshore oil drilling, the motion failed because no one would second it.
That was a week before President Barack Obama proposed oil drilling off the U.S. East Coast and a month before the major BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana.
When Freeman brought up the resolution again this week, she had no trouble getting support.
"It sends a message as to what our priorities are and what we think is important for the state and federal leaders," Freeman said.
The St. Augustine Beach City Commission passed a similar resolution last week, which pointed to possible threats drilling may pose to the environment and tourism.
Resident Robin Nadeau first suggested the ban to commissioners before BP's massive Gulf Coast spill. That proposal failed 3-2 with Commissioners Frank Charles and Rich O'Brien and Mayor Brud Helhoski voting against it. The resolution passed in the second discussion May 3 with Charles in opposition.
"The East Coast of Florida is not a prime drilling area," Helhoski said. "It was more or less a gesture by the City Commission to show our support of the folks that want to stop offshore drilling."
Wikipedia: Butner, NC FCI is Home to Swindlers Bernard Madoff, John Rigas, Mafioso Carmine Persico and WTC Terrorist Omar Abdel-Rahman,
The complex consists of several facilities:
- FMC Butner, a Federal Medical Center housing male inmates of all security levels
- FCI Butner Medium, a medium-security Federal Correctional Institution
- FCI Butner Medium II, a medium-security Federal Correctional Institution
- FCI Butner Low, a low-security Federal Correctional Institution
Butner has the largest medical/psychological complex in the entire federal prison system. Butner is the home to one of the top two[clarification needed] Drug Abuse Programs; the other is in Lexington, Kentucky.
Notable inmates include:
FCI Butner Low
- John Rigas, 53983-054, former CEO of Adelphia Communications Corporation convicted of bank, wire, and securities fraud. Rigas was accused of looting the corporation by concealing $2.3 billion in liabilities from corporate investors and of using corporation funds as personal funds.
FCI Butner Medium
- Bernard Madoff, 61727-054, former financier sentenced to 150 years for perpetrating a $65 billion Ponzi scheme.
- Carmine Persico, 74666-158, Boss of the Colombo crime family.
- Jonathan Pollard, 09185-016, civilian United States Navy intelligence analyst convicted of spying for Israel.
- Omar Abdel-Rahman, 34892-054, Islamic terrorist nicknamed "The Blind Sheik"; masterminded 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
- Russell Eugene Weston, Jr, 22372-016, murdered Detective John Gibson and Officer Jacob Chestnut after entering the United States Capitol.
Past notable inmates within the complex have included: