Thursday, July 28, 2011

When did Mike Collins start taking checks from Big Sugar? ... by gimleteye

During Jeb Bush's terms as governor, Mike Collins was his enforcer on the governing board of the South Florida Water Management District. Recently, Collins wrote in a letter to the Palm Beach Post: "Rick Scott is putting politics aside and using his office to streamline Everglades restoration." As a younger fishing guide in the Florida Keys, Collins was described to me by one of the long-time guides as a "bantam rooster". His temper and combativeness served him well on the governing board of the district. He became one of the trusted Florida Bush loyalists after spending a few days on Florida Bay with the first President Bush and George Hommel and, later hunting with Dick Cheney. (As in, what is said in the hunting circle, stays in the hunting circle.) But it was on the governing board where Collins achieved his niche: dishing out vitriol against environmentalists as a stand-in for what Jeb! felt but would not publicly express. In more important forums, Jeb was busy setting his (the state's) lawyers about the business of destroying the Everglades to accommodate Big Sugar: ie. changing the law that was the foundation for the state's relationship with the federal government on water supply and water quality in the Everglades. That is not opinion: it is memorialized in a 2008 federal court decision still being fought by the Scott administration. So long as the facts didn't fit the policy, Bush needed loyalists who would go out and lie for him. That is what his Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection David Struhs did, with the 2003 changes to the Everglades Forever Act. Mike Collins took the Big Sugar line then, as he is apparently now being paid to do. Read Mary Barley's recent letter to the editor to the Palm Beach Post in response. So when did Mike Collins begin being paid by Big Sugar?

Letter: Collins, Scott no friend to Everglades restoration

Letters to the Editor for Thursday, July 28
Posted: 6:53 p.m. Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It should surprise no one to see former South Florida Water Management
District Governing Board member Mike Collins rush to the defense of Big Sugar
and other polluters ("With Scott, Everglades restoration back on track," letter
to the editor). He now works for them.

Mr. Collins oddly asserts that former Gov. Charlie Crist's policies somehow
brought the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) "to a
standstill." In fact, the opposite is true. Over the past three years, as a result
of Mr. Crist's leadership and bipartisan support in Washington, there has been
a surge in the construction of CERP projects that will protect the Everglades
and our water supply.

Even more bizarre is Mr. Collins' defense of Gov. Scott's alarming
environmental policies. Before he could even move his furniture into the
Capitol, the new governor sued the Environmental Protection Agency to allow
polluters more latitude to dump sewage, animal waste and fertilizer into our
lakes, rivers and streams. Only weeks later, Gov. Scott gutted state laws
designed to shield taxpayers from expenses for unchecked development and
sprawl. In a move that was nothing short of insulting to our state's fishermen,
hotel owners and other small businesses who suffered deep financial losses as
a result of the BP oil spill, the governor recently scuttled a state lawsuit that
would have recovered from BP hundreds of millions - perhaps billions - of
dollars owed to Florida taxpayers.

Topping it all off, Gov. Scott's budget proposed cuts so deep in Everglades
restoration funding that even the conservative Republican leadership of our
state Legislature felt compelled to restore a portion of the much-needed
money to keep water supply and Everglades projects moving forward.

While it is public record that Mr. Collins has applied for reappointment by Gov.
Scott to a board position at the water management district, his shameless
pandering and transparent defense of the governor's policies is a glaring
reminder why he should never again be trusted to oversee the protection of
our natural resources or the water supply for nearly 8 million Floridians.



Editor's note: Mary Barley is president of the Everglades Trust.


Anonymous said...

Since today we seem to be talking about the "Jeb Bush loyalists, I dedicate this comment to all the Republican ASSHOLES who have now begun reading and contaminating our favorite blog. I cite the sources, in case anyone wants to read about this fateful family of crooks. The Bush family has been responsible for so much of our financial disasters, and the one created by George W. Bush, during his two terms, is the last gift they have left us!

"The Bush family was directly involved in the Silverado Savings and Loan scandal. Jeb Bush, George Bush Sr., and his son Neil Bush were all been implicated in the Savings and Loan Scandal, which cost American tax payers over $1.4 TRILLION dollars.

Between 1981 and 1989, when George Bush finally announced that there was a Savings and Loan Crisis to the world, the Reagan/Bush administration worked to cover up Savings and Loan problems by reducing the number and depth of examinations required of S&Ls as well as attacking political opponents who were sounding early alarms about the S&L industry. Industry insiders were aware of significant S&L problems as early 1986 that they felt would require a bailout. This information was kept from the media until after Bush had won the 1988 elections.

Jeb Bush defaulted on a $4.56 million loan from Broward Federal Savings in Sunrise, Florida. After federal regulators closed the S&L, the office building that Jeb used the $4.56 million to finance was reappraised by the regulators at $500,000, which Bush and his partners paid. The taxpayers had to pay back the remaining 4 million plus dollars."

But that's not all -- OF COURSE, THAT'S NOT ALL – and one of the most interesting individuals in this family of tragic consequences for this country is Prescott Bush, the "boys" grandfather. "The line of questionable, illegal, and unethical businesses practices goes back at least to Prescott Bush Sr., George Bush Sr.’s father. Prescott Bush was a Senator from 1952 – 1963. Previous to his time as a Senator Prescott was a banker and businessman. Prior to the American entry into WWII Prescott Bush was director of Union Banking Corporation. Union Banking Corporation helped to finance Hitler’s regime. The Concentration Camps of Nazi Germany were labor camps that the Nazis used to make products for their regime as well as for sale to raise money. Prescott profited directly from the Auschwitz labor camp.

In 1942, after Hitler declared war on America the United States government seized the Union Banking Corporation under the Trading with the Enemy Act as a front operation that was supporting the Nazis. Much of the profits from the operation were already pocketed by Prescott however, and $1.5 million was put in a trust fund for George Bush Sr."
(Excerpts: - - - - )

Anonymous said...


Mike Collins has given and taken many slams in the 15 years I've been here.

Mary Barley's billboard next to his home being among those slams.

I think Mike clearly speaks his mind -- without being "paid."

I like both Mike and Mary even though I am not always in agreement with either -- they both keep the Everglades wild in their own ways.

Anonymous said...

There should be an investigation of Collins and his friend Harvey for their involvement in the the Frog Pond land leases with the Florida Bay Initiative. Someone made a LOT of money.

Unknown said...

There are a number of audits on the frog pond leases. check them out nothing like a few facts to clear the air..