Thursday, August 27, 2015

Maggy Hurchalla: "The law says they (George Lindemann Jr. and George Lindemann Sr.) can't sell water. They claim that selling water is part of rock mining and they have the right to sell "the waters of the state" ... by gimleteye

Maggie Hurchalla needs money for her defense of a lawsuit levied against her, personally, (SLAPP suit) by the Miami Beach Lindemann family.

We have written about Hurchalla, a Miami native and former Martin County commissioner, extensively:, here and here and here (use our search feature, for more). The lawsuit against her, by Lindemann, claims she interfered with permitting of a rock mine -- including the plan to sell of water from that rock mine to a Florida municipality. The following is from Maggy Hurchalla's website:
In January 2013, George Lindemann, Jr., the owner of Lake Point filed a SLAPP suit against me for criticizing his rockpit project in Martin County. I stated in an email to County Commissioners that a hole in the ground in porous soil would not store water and the project would not save the Everglades or the St. Lucie Estuary. Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing. It’s particularly offensive to get sued for something you said when everything you said is true. A Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation is not intended to win. It is intended to intimidate by costing lots of time and money. I am continuing to SLAPP Back because I can’t admit that I secretly and maliciously lied about the project when what I did was to publicly and loudly tell the truth about it.
Originally, Lindemann marketed his Lake Pointe project to EB 5 program foreign investors. He had been a successful Miami developer on Biscyane Boulevard in the 2000's before seizing the opportunity, called to his attention by Big Sugar interests in Palm Beach, to become a rock miner.

Lindemann's property is at the south eastern edge of the Lake Okeechobee area. For the Palm Beach Post, Sally Swartz wrote in Feb. 2013, "Developer’s SLAPP suit seeks to silence Maggy Hurchalla":
The SLAPP — Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation — is nothing new in Martin County and on the Treasure Coast. Still, it is a shock that the developers of the Lake Point rock mines last week targeted environmentalist Maggy Hurchalla, demanding she retract what she has said to Martin commissioners in public meetings and e-mails criticizing the mining operation.

“It’s definitely a SLAPP suit,” Ms. Hurchalla’s lawyer Virginia Sherlock said, “The purpose is not to win, but to shut Maggy up and scare others. She has done nothing wrong.”

The lawsuit alleges Ms. Hurchalla, a former county commissioner and court-recognized expert on Martin’s protective growth plan, made false statements about Lake Point to try to kill a deal its developers made with the last county commission majority.

The 2009 deal gives Lake Point the right to mine its 2,200 acre property for 20 years. Then it would create a storm water treatment area to clean water flowing into the St. Lucie River, and to provide drinking water for West Palm Beach. The rock mine is located in southeast Martin County near Lake Okeechobee.

Developers of the mine contributed to the campaigns of current Commissioner Doug Smith($9,000) and former commissioners Ed Ciampi ($9,000) and Patrick Hayes ($7,000), the majority that approved the deal. Voters booted Mr. Hayes and Mr. Ciampi in the last election.

The deal includes a contract between the county and the South Florida Water Management District that claims Lake Point is exempt from local regulations.

Along with Ms. Hurchalla, Lake Point also is suing Martin County and the water management district.

The SLAPP suit claims Ms. Hurchalla “is singling out Lake Point” and trying to put it out of business and that the project has followed the rules, hasn’t destroyed wetlands and has met public notice requirements.

Ms. Hurchalla has made no comment on the lawsuit.

Criticizing government is, of course, a constitutional right. A SLAPP is not filed with the intent to go trial but to intimidate people, to scare them and to shut them up. The idea is that when the defendants have to spend money on lawyers and endure the stress of a lawsuit, protests will end.

But residents, Ms. Sherlock said, “have the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. Comments and communications with elected officials are very highly protected. The idea you should get sued for speaking out is mind-boggling.”

Rock mining is a highly profitable industry in Florida, dominated by large, secretive and mostly foreign-owned corporations. It is quixotic for an individual investor to jump into its midst, without any prior experience and only capital.

It is not clear if "selling water" that belongs to the people of Florida was Lindemann's original plan for the development at the heart of Lindemann's suit against Hurchalla and if fellow billionaires in Florida who own hundreds of thousands of acres around Lake Okeechobee recruited him to be their proxy; to fight for what they really want -- not just to own the land but to own the water above and under their land.

In an age of scarcity, there is no commodity more precious than water. To be instantly granted ownership of water to go along with property rights would fundamentally change the state of Florida.

Using a lawsuit, a SLAPP suit, to help rewrite Florida water law would fit the interests of everyone from the Fanjuls to the other big land owners in Florida including the King Ranch in Texas. It is not for nothing that US Sugar flew by private jet top GOP legislators and Gov. Rick Scott from Florida to Texas for luxury hunting trips on property where the King Ranch also owns the water underneath. (Scott, by the way, reached out to Hurchalla before the Nov. 2014 election, to show his sincerity in wanting to understand how to better protect Florida's environment-- a ploy repellant in retrospect of Scott's anti-environmental jihad since reelection.)

Who put George Lindemann up to the wisdom of changing Florida water law? Being a proxy for other billionaires, including Big Sugar Fanjuls who have also pressed to permit rock mining in the Everglades Agricultural Area, could explain why the court record for this lawsuit, according to Hurchalla, now totals nearly three hundred thousand pages.

The use of the legal system to harass citizens ought to raise the ire of Floridians throughout the state. In the last session of the legislature, a new law was passed making it harder for special interests to levy SLAPP suits. That law can't help Maggy Hurchalla now. You can.

If you have money to give to a great cause in Florida, help Maggy now.


Anonymous said...

Just sent $100 to support the cause.
It could happen to any of us.
Thanks for letting us know.

Anonymous said...

Lindemann also gave $50k to that shady Levine/Wolfson PAC
Relentless for Progress -

Relentless for Progress (PAC)
07/13/2015 50,000.00 CHE

Geniusofdespair said...

I gave to Maggy twice...good cause.

cyndi said...

The attorneys behind this are from the Pacific Legal Foundation. They have made Martin County their home and have infiltrated the economic council.
This is from the Martin County Currents the newspaper paid for by all these bad guys who ran the pro building candidates last election.

Commissioner Doug Smith and former Commissioner Ed Ciampi received a total of $9,000 each from Lindemann and his companies in the past five years, records show. Former Commissioner Patrick Hayes received a total of $7,000.

Anonymous said...

Even though we have fought for many years and have been beaten down many times, we must continue to stand against Scott and his minions and the rock miners and developers who care little about Florida's natural beauty and environment. I'm sending Maggy money. Thanks for this info.