Tag Archives: Senate

Jeff Greene with a double-digit lead in the polls? Is Florida insane?

Mr. Obvious says that voters are angry.  Some know why but most don’t.

Many believe that as long as the candidate currently holds an office in Washington, they should go.  It doesn’t matter if they’re replaced by the extremely rich (Jeff Greene-FL Senate), the horrible ex-CEO (Carly Fiorina CA Senate), the CEO whose company was involved in the largest Medicare Fraud case in United States history (Rick Scott FL Governor) or the candidate with incredibly divisive positions (Sharron Angle NV Senate).

Jeff Greene is rich.  Very, very rich.  He is on Forbes 400 list.  Nobody seems to care how he made his way on this list.

Greene essentially invested in the tanking of the housing market.  So as the subprime market fell and millions of Americans lost their homes, Greene found his investment increased by 1400% in 18 months for a nice little profit of $800 million.

There’s nothing illegal or unethical about that.  Just a little smarmy. 

He is a political outsider though in 1982 Greene ran for Congress in California as a Republican.  When Chris Matthews asked Greene if he had voted for Reagan in either 1980 or 1984, he responded that he could not recall.  That would be believable had he not run as a Republican during that mid-term election between each of Reagan’s elections.

In 2008, Sarah Palin and the rest of the Republicans started throwing out the name Bill Ayers at President Obama.  They said he ‘palled around with terrorists.’  It was debunked however the message still exists.  You look at who the candidate associates with and you can determine who they are.

I learned that lesson very young.  In my first professional job, I was told to cease talking to one of the employees in the department.  They were planning on moving her out and she wasn’t well liked.  If I was seen associating with her, I could expect the same fate.

Greene is friends with ‘Hollywood madam’ Heidi Fleiss, Lindsay Lohan and former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.  In fact, Tyson was the best man at Greene’s wedding. 

During the 2000 and 2004 elections all we heard was we wanted to elect someone we felt we could have a beer with.  Palin was the mom next door.  Today we want the political outsider and we don’t care how rich they are. 

Some of these ‘outsiders’ will spend more of their personal finances on their elections this year than many of us will earn in our lifetimes.

It seems he is taking his outsider status too far.  In fact, he apparently is trying to come off as bipartisan.  While speaking to a Sarasota media forum recently Greene said, “Whether I was a Republican or Democrat, who cares?”

Really?  Democrats do?  And so do Republicans. 

Worse still is that if Greene defeats Kendrick Meek in the Democratic Primary this month, he is going to after Governor Charlie Crist’s lack of party affiliation.

Salon wrote a great piece this week on the type of boss Greene is.  Read the story here:  Jeff Greene is a nightmare boss

Apparently he’s spoiled, abusive and cheap but the worst thing I found out about Greene was a story mentioned in Salon that kind of was brushed over.

A deckhand on Greene’s 145-foot yacht was injured.  Greene lied to the insurance company by telling them that deckhand Harlan Hoffman did not work on his yacht.

It took 8 months and legal action to resolve the case and get Hoffman’s bill’s paid.

Insurance fraud is when someone lies to the insurance company in order to get them to pay the bills when they shouldn’t have.  What is it called when you lie to the insurance company so they won’t pay the bills in order to keep your rates down?

Greene’s former personal chef, James Battles, sued him last year alleging that Greene ‘demanded round-the-clock attention and would berate and humiliate Battles when he sought reimbursement for food paid for out of his own pocket.’

‘Battles said Greene fired him after he was hospitalized for exhaustion before one of Greene’s parties.  The settlement is confidential and Greene declined to discuss the case.

Another example of what we might expect from Greene: During the 2000’s, Greene owned more than 8,000 properties.  He threatened to get a city council aide fired who was advocating on behalf of one of Greene’s tenants who complained about the heat and water problems.  When threatened to escalate the issue to then Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, Greene responded “Ha, ha, ha.  I know Rocky personally.  He and his wife were married in my house.  I’ll see to it that this council aide will be fired.”

Hollywood director, Richie Cunningham and Opie wouldn’t vote for Greene.  During the 1990’s, Ron Howard rented a luxury home owned by Greene when the house was flooded from a leaky roof.  [Read story here]

“If you look at the record and the outcome, he committed fraud and that’s why it was so expensive for him.  With what I know about Jeff Greene as a tenant, I certainly wouldn’t vote for him, and I wouldn’t relish the idea of him being in the Senate.” – Howard, who won a $616,000 judgment from Greene, said during an interview with the Washington Post.

What is also surprising is that with only a couple of weeks to go until the Florida primary, very little is known about Greene yet he is up by double digits in the polls.  The other problem is that most people still know very little about Kendrick Meek as a result Greene and his aggressive advertising campaign is making him a more familiar name.

I’ve seen countless ads and received a number of mailers from Greene.  I am still waiting for Meek to show up.

You can be sure that if the Democrats elect Greene as their nominee, Governor Charlie Crist (I) and Marco Rubio (R-Teabagger) will not let Greene off the hook so easily.  In fact, they will probably make Greene appear to be a spoiled rich man with a bad temper and no understanding of politics who today has decided he wants to be a senator. 

I suspect that Democrats will run from Greene as they learn more about him and wouldn’t be surprised if Obama endorsed Crist in return of Crist’s supporting the Stimulus Package. 

 

Marco Rubio – Costing taxpayers – Increasing personal income

Florida cannot afford Marco Rubio.  A couple of Google searches supported that.

During the 10-year period that included Rubio’s roles as Florida House Majority Leader and Speaker of the House, he saw his income more than quadruple.

In 1999, Rubio reported his earnings at $99,000.  In 2008, it was up to $414,000.

Much of Rubio’s earnings during this period was work for multiple law firms including Broad & Cassel, ‘a well-connect statewide firm that had done millions of dollars of legal work for the Florida House.’

Between 2002 and 2005, Broad & Cassel billed Florida taxpayers $4.5 MILLION for legal work.  An audit of the firm’s work was conducted but never released.  Just remember, Florida’s congress is overwhelmingly controlled by the Republicans – about 67% of the Florida House and Senate.  Rubio is a Republican.

The question is – what did Rubio really do for these law firms?   It does seem interesting that Rubio received money from companies that billed the very state that Rubio represented.  Broad & Cassel billed Florida an average of more than one million dollars per year for four years.

Asked if he would have been hired by Broad & Cassel had he not been Speaker of the House Rubio responded, “It’s hard to tell with a hypothetical.  I certainly would have worked somewhere.  I had made a career of working at big firms up until last year when I went out on my own.”

True, but would he have been compensated $1.2 million for 4 years?

During his time at Broad & Cassel, Rubio “said he reviewed zoning applications, but he never appeared before a board or a commission on a land use matter.”

During Rubio’s final year as Speaker, he ‘secured a special line item in the budget that gave Jackson Memorial Hospital an additional $20 million in 2008.  Several months later, Jackson hired Rubio as a consultant under a $96,000 a year contract.”

Since leaving state government, Rubio received lucrative deals with:

  • Miami Children’s Hospital paying him $102,000.
  • Florida International University – $69,000
  • Univision – as an on-air commentator for $8,000.

What I found most interesting was the last paragraph in the I-Team investigation

Despite his income, Rubio’s net worth is surprisingly low. In 2008 he listed his net worth at just $8,300. A self described fiscal conservative, Rubio is carrying almost a million in debt — including two mortgages on his current home and more than $100,000 in student loans. 

Rubio’s annual salary bump also is interesting considering he had stopped payments on a Tallahassee home which was heading into foreclosure.  Rubio claimed that he stopped paying on the home during a dispute with the bank.  He has since caught up with the payments once news for the pending foreclosure became public.

Rubio is also currently under a federal IRS investigation over the potential misuse of Republican Party credit cards for personal expenses. 

At the very least, it appears that Rubio has benefitted as a result of his time in public service at a very high cost to taxpayers but clearly he has difficulty managing his personal finances.

Can we really afford to send Marco Rubio to Washington?

Sources: 

Politifact – Charlie Crist’s first TV ad focuses on Marco Rubio’s money

I-Team: Scrutinizing Marco Rubio’s Finances

The Ted Stevens Indictment Is Not A Surprise

I knew I wasn’t dreaming. I remember reading about a year ago, how Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) was being investigated. I recall his son was also caught up in this mess somehow.

I was confused by the lack of information provided by the media when it was announced on Tuesday that Stevens was indicted. The facts were a little hazy so I hit ‘the tubes’ of the ‘internets’ and went straight for ‘the google’.

The Anchorage Daily News reported one year ago (August 1, 2007) that Stevens was being investigated over a land deal involving the SeaLife Center in Seward, AK. In question were $1.6 million in earmarks allocated to the SeaLife Center for purchasing property for $558,000 owned by lobbyist and former Stevens aide Trevor McCabe.

But that wasn’t the good part. I remember reading last year that the offices of former Alaska Senate President Ben Stevens were raided by the FBI. And yes, Ben Stevens is the son of Ted. Documents seized by the FBI agents involved the Alaska Fisheries Marketing Board. Ted Stevens (the US Senator) provided federal grants to this company through earmarks in 2003 Congressional Legislation.

It actually gets worse from here.

The year old article reported that “federal law enforcement agents raided Stevens’ home in Girdwood, hauling off undisclosed items from inside and taking extensive pictures and video inside and out.”

I guess we now know what they were recording.

Again from this Daily News story: “Federal investigators and grand juries in Anchorage and Washington, D.C., have been seeking information about a 7-year-old remodeling project at the house. The project more than doubled the size of the house and was overseen by Veco Corp. CEO Bill Allen. In May, Allen pleaded guilty to bribing state lawmakers and agreed to cooperate with authorities in further corruption probes. Veco vice president Richard Smith has also pleaded guilty to identical charges. Allen and Smith resigned from Veco.”

Stevens was the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee 1997 through 2005 with the exception of the 18 months the Democrats controlled the Senate.

Now, Stevens has said that he was surprised by the indictment and other members of Congress, too, stated that they were shocked.  I guess that falls into the same category as calling the accused honest.

“Ted is one of the most effective and honest legislators I have ever worked with.” – Rep. Don Young (R-AK)

I’ve known Ted Stevens for 28 years and have always known him to be impeccably honest.”Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA)

“… he’s an honest man.”Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)

John McCain’s campaign has taken this opportunity to kick Stevens while he was down and attempt to score a couple of political points in the process.  Senior McCain advisor Nicolle Wallace:

“Sen. McCain and Sen. Stevens have clashed famously over the appropriations process which Sen. McCain views as broken and subject to the type of corruption that has caused voters to lose faith with Washington, and as he mentions near daily on the campaign trail, has resulted in former members of Congress residing in federal prison”.

“Sen. McCain has fought loudly and often alone against corruption and wasteful spending and this is a sad reminder that the next president will have his work cut out for him in rebuilding public trust by ending once and for all pork barrel spending and by reforming the federal government from top to bottom”.

Here is the statement by Ted Stevens on his indictment:

“It saddens me to learn that these charges have been brought against me. I have never knowingly submitted a false disclosure form required by law as a U.S. senator. In accordance with Senate Republican Conference rules, I have temporarily relinquished my vice-chairmanship and ranking positions until I am absolved of these charges. The impact of these charges on my family disturbs me greatly. I am innocent of these charges and intend to prove that.”

That is the wonderful thing about our judicial system. Senator Stevens will have his day in court.