SLAP THE HORSE KILLER BY HELPING MAGGY!

SLAP THE HORSE KILLER BY HELPING MAGGY!

From Daphne Webb

In January of 2013, Maggy became the subject of a SLAPP Suit filed by the Lake Point rockpit people. That’s a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.

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SIX DAYS LEFT!

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$14,000 total

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The Horse Killer wants to sell YOUR WATER!

WHY NOT SELL WATER?

When it rains too hard, they dump Lake Okeechobee out the St. Lucie Canal to the St. Lucie Estuary. Everything that likes saltwater and can’t swim fast dies, including sea grasses and oysters.

Why not let an entrepreneur grab that water before it gets to the estuary and sell it to someone who needs it?

The first and biggest problem is timing. IT DOESN’T RAIN TOO HARD WHEN WE ARE HAVING A DROUGHT. Florida is a place of extremes. It rains too much, or it rains too little, much more often that it rains the “average annual rainfall.” Luckily for the estuary, years can go by without any damaging discharges from Lake Okeechobee. Those are the drought years when people need water. When you sell water for people to use, it has to be there in the driest time when they need it most.

So maybe you could store the water ‘til it’s needed? Storage in South Florida has challenges:

1. IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO STORE WATER IN A RESERVOIR OVER SEVERAL DRY YEARS. Open water in a reservoir in Florida sunshine evaporates like a steaming kettle.

2. YOU NEED A WHOLE LOT OF STORAGE TO MAKE A DENT IN THE LAKE OKEECHOBEE DISCHARGES. In the summer of 2013 the St. Lucie Locks dumped water into the estuary at the rate of 10,000 acre feet a day. That went on for three months. If your storage proposal was for 6000 acre feet, it wouldn’t even stop the discharges for a single day.It would take over 70,000 acre feet of storage to stop the discharges for just a week.

3. YOU CAN’T STORE WATER IN A HOLE IN THE GROUND. The water table here is very close to the surface. If you dig a hole in the rainy season, it fills up with water from the surrounding aquifer. The proposal to solve that problem is to pump down the aquifer to a lower level so there is room for storage. Think about that. It doesn’t take a hydrologist to know that’s a dumb idea. Is it rational to pump water out of a rockpit so you will have room to pump water into the rockpit?

What it will take to save the Everglades and halt damaging discharges to the estuaries is to find a way TO SEND THE WATER SOUTH. Lake Okeechobee used to flow south to the Everglades. Now there are sugar cane fields in the way and the Everglades doesn’t get enough water.

We need to reduce the number of users depending on Lake Okeechobee for water so we don’t have to dump the Lake every time the summer rains come. In 2008 the Water Management District stopped issuing permits for new or increased use of Lake Okeechobee water. The Lake is overcommitted.

What’s that got to do with selling water? When Lake levels are below 15 ft, the locks at Port Mayaca are open. The St. Lucie Canal becomes an arm of Lake Okeechobee. Any new water supply from the St. Lucie Canal comes from Lake Okeechobee. But didn’t they promise to take water from the canal only when Lake Okeechobee was discharging to the estuary? That’s a promise they can’t keep. They’ve proved that over and over. You can’t turn off people’s faucets and leave them without drinking waters. What happens if we pretend that discharges from Lake Okeechobee are a dependable source of water for utilities? When the drought years come, there will be no discharges. Water managers cannot choose to turn the water off. At that point water will be routed south from the St. Lucie Canal and the Lake even though there are no discharges. We will have established another water user for an already over committed Lake Okeechobee. WE DON’T NEED MORE STRAWS IN THE LAKE.

If supplying water from the Lake is the best way to serve thirsty growth in South Florida, there is an easier way. Palm Beach County, which is south of Martin County, has a direct connection to Lake Okeechobee at the L8 canal. Sending water through canals over longer distances causes more loss from leakage and evaporation and more pollution from runoff around the conveyance canals. DELIVERING WATER OVER LONG DISTANCES IS NOT EFFICIENT.

Finally, the biggest problem of all with selling water is that it establishes the fact that we are going to privatize water. UNDER FLORIDA LAW THE PUBLIC OWNS THE WATER IN THE LAKES AND THE UNDERGROUND AQUIFERS.

If we give that up, we’ve sold our birthright for a mess of pottage.

Maggy Hurchalla

Proposal to sell water from western Martin County rock mine raises doubts about 'environmental' project

By George Andreassi TCPalm.com

Dec. 12. 2012 Stuart News

ABOUT THE RESTORATION PROJECT

What: Lake Point Restoration stormwater project, formerly known as Lake Point Ranches

Address: 25818 S.W. Kanner Highway, Canal Point

Location: South of the St. Lucie Canal, west of the DuPuis Management Area, north of the Palm Beach County line and about a mile east of Lake Okeechobee,

Total site size: 2,255 acres

Mining area: 1,006 acres

Duration of mining operation: 20 years

Maximum lake depth: 20 feet

Stormwater management lakes: 920 acres

Stormwater treatment areas: 600 acres

Created wetlands: 114 acres

Martin County recreation area: 150 acres

Lake Point Ranches site plan: 44 ranchettes ranging from 20 to 50 acres

A proposal to funnel water from Martin County's largest rock mine to the city of West Palm Beach could ultimately result in larger discharges of polluted water from Lake Okeechobee.

Lake Point Restoration, a rock mine in western Martin County, is considering diverting lake water from the St. Lucie Canal into the Lake Point property and selling it to utilities in Palm Beach County.

The water sales initiative would ratchet up the pressure on Lake Okeechobee as a source of drinking water, several environmentalists said. That could lead to more water storage, higher lake levels, larger discharges of polluted water into the St. Lucie Estuary and less water for the Everglades.

High water levels this fall resulted in the Army Corps of Engineers discharging 43 billion gallons of lake water into the estuary. The discharges jeopardize the future of the diverse ecosystem.

There is little Martin County can do to block the sale of water from the Lake Point property, The Stuart News has learned. The South Florida Water Management District, which controls drinking water supplies from north of Lake Okeechobee through the Florida Keys, has "sole and absolute discretion" over the Lake Point project.

Diverting polluted Lake Okeechobee water from the St. Lucie Canal would improve the quality of the water that ultimately flows into the St. Lucie Estuary, said Honey Rand, a spokeswoman for Lake Point and author of a book entitled "Water Wars: A Story of People, Politics and Power."

"It's the extraction of the polluted water in the canal that helps downstream in the estuary," Rand said. "Anything that reduces the amount of polluted water flowing to the estuary is an improvement."

But Maggy Hurchalla, an Everglades expert and former county commissioner, said the project will do little to help the estuary.

"It doesn't do what it says it will do," Hurchalla said. "It has no benefits for Martin County."

Powerful players are involved in the Lake Point project, including George Lindemann Jr., whose father presides over a $2 billion empire, and American Water, the nation's largest private utility company, which boasts $14 million in assets.

A two-month investigation by The Stuart News uncovered the following details about the Lake Point project, which is in a sparsely populated agricultural area in far southwestern Martin County, a mile east of Lake Okeechobee and just across Kanner Highway from the St. Lucie Canal:

Lake Point and American Water are considering a partnership so they can sell up to 35 million gallons of water per day from Lake Okeechobee via the St. Lucie Canal to utilities in Palm Beach County by sending the water down the L-8 Canal.

Lake Point is considered a public stormwater management project that is exempt from Martin County's strict land development regulations and permitting process, except for county mining rules.

A "reverter" clause would enable Lake Point to keep 1,800 acres of property designated for donation to the water management district as a stormwater treatment facility if authorities halt the mining operation for more than 120 days. The disincentive to stop work could make it more difficult to enforce state and county permitting conditions, such as the 20-foot limit on lake depths and the payment of hauling fees.

Lindemann Jr., a partner in Lake Point, and several Miami-based corporations associated with him have contributed $32,000 in the past five years to the political campaigns of three Martin County commissioners and two commission candidates.

Water wars

New Martin County Commission Chairwoman Sarah Heard said this week she wants water management district and county officials to brief the commission on whether the Lake Point project has complied with all of its contractual agreements and permitting conditions.

Several Martin County environmentalists argue the Lake Point plan would result in utility demands to keep water levels in the lake higher to provide more drinking water. The higher lake levels would result in even greater discharges of polluted water into the St. Lucie Estuary in the aftermath of major rainstorms.

"We should take people off the lake for water supply and put them on groundwater," said Mark Perry, executive director of the Florida Oceanographic Society and an expert on South Florida waterways. "There's not very much left over for the Everglades right now."

Lake Point's proposal to sell water from Martin County to utilities in Palm Beach County could trigger "water wars" with other governmental agencies, said Donna Melzer, a former county commissioner and president of the Martin County Conservation Alliance.

"It just adds an indirect straw into Lake Okeechobee waters," Melzer said. "They have to retain water because you have so many straws in it ... which is pressure to keep the water high, and then we get dumped on as soon as there's a big rain."

The water management district capped water allocations from Lake Okeechobee in 2008, said Randy Smith, a district spokesman.

A record drought last year resulted in especially low water levels in the lake and left West Palm Beach unable to provide enough water to its customers.

The Lake Point property could be developed into a source of drinking water to help the region deal with water shortages, Rand said.

Lake Point representatives and American Water officials pitched the rock mine site as a permanent source of drinking water to the West Palm Beach City Commission during an Aug. 20 workshop. Lake Point would siphon water from the St. Lucie Canal and pump it into the L-8 Canal, which can be used to connect the rock mining site to a city reservoir about 20 miles to the southeast.

Limestone on the Lake Point property would remove phosphorous from the Lake Okeechobee water before it is sent down the L-8 Canal to Palm Beach County, said Mark Strauss, a senior vice president with American Water.

"This would provide high-quality water due to the natural filtration of the site," Strauss said. "There remains more work to be done, but we are convinced that this project is viable."

Lake Point's water supply initiative would require changes to the agreement calling for 1,800 acres to be donated to the district, said Bob Brown, assistant executive director at the water management district. The initiative also would require a permit from the district.

"I think that we would be in the position ... to issue a 50-year permit," Brown told the West Palm Beach city commissioners. "They would need a permit to pull from C-44 (St. Lucie Canal) into the project and ultimately then discharge down L-8 Canal."

The stormwater treatment facility could be made available to another government agency once Lake Point transfers the property to the water management district, said Doug Manson, a lawyer working with Lake Point.

The city could obtain control over the Lake Point stormwater treatment facility and sell water to other local governments, said West Palm Beach City Commissioner Shanon Materio.

"It would be possible if Martin County or Stuart were out shopping for water that we could say, 'We have water,'" Materio said.

Cane fields to rock mine

Much of the Lake Point property had been used for sugar cane fields for decades.

In May 2007, the Martin County Commission approved plans for the Lake Point Ranches subdivision with 44 agricultural lots ranging in size from 20 acres to 50 acres.

During the real estate boom of the early 2000s, some developers viewed rural Martin County as an ideal location for equestrian-oriented subdivisions that would lure horseriding enthusiasts from Wellington. But the collapse of the real estate market prompted Lake Point to change its focus to rock and sand mining.

In August 2008, the ranchette subdivision plans were replaced with a proposal calling for Lake Point to donate most of the site to the water management district in exchange for the right to excavate and sell rock from half the site for 20 years. That deal was finalized in May 2009.

A key selling point of the deal was Lake Point's offer to redevelop 1,800 acres into a stormwater treatment facility after the property is donated to the district.

The facility would cleanse polluted water from Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie Canal, according to water management district records. The treated water would be sent south down the L-8 canal to Palm Beach County, or returned to Lake Okeechobee or the St. Lucie Canal.

Stormwater treatment lakes would be created from the mining pits.

So far, more than 3.6 million cubic yards of rock and sand — about 200,000 dump truck loads — have been hauled off the Lake Point property, more than four times as much as the next largest mine in Martin County. The mining operation could continue for decades, depending on demand for the material, Rand said.

Lake Point has provided rock and sand for a variety of projects such as the Herbert Hoover Dike Repair and Rehabilitation, the Veterans Memorial Bridge linking Stuart and Palm City and the expansion of Interstate 95 in Jupiter. Lake Point is also expected to provide raw materials for the New Big John Monahan Bridge in Indiantown.

Critics of the project say the agreement lacks safeguards to prevent Lake Point from exceeding Martin County's strict development rules, including a 20-foot limit on lake depths that was established to minimize potential impacts to wetlands, aquifers and water quality.

There also is little to keep Lake Point from abandoning the project without completing the stormwater management facility, Lake Point critics said.

Heard said she wants to revisit the Lake Point agreement with the new more environmentally oriented commission majority that assumed control on Nov. 20.

"It's a bad deal," Heard said about the May 2009 agreement Martin County signed off on. "Anytime that we've made a bad decision and that there are harmful results as a result of a decision, we should do everything we can to correct that wrongdoing. And we can make some attempts at correction. We can keep them from causing further harm, causing further damage."

Heard said she would rather allow Lake Point to keep all of the property to be transferred to the district and county than allow any violations of county development rules — including those involving mining and land use.

Lake Point advocates argue the project provides environmental and economic benefits.

Benefits questioned

Lake Point employs 30 to 35 workers on the rock mining site, Rand said. Dozens more workers are involved in trucking the materials to construction sites.

Lake Point went through all the required county and state and permitting processes, Rand said. Lake Point also has been a good corporate citizen, joining chambers of commerce, participating in an Adopt-a-Class program, and contributing to the March of Dimes.

"The Lake Point project is an innovative public-private partnership intended to promote Everglades conservation and improve water quality for various natural habitats, while providing essential raw materials for infrastructure and restoration projects," Lake Point Restoration literature says.

Hurchalla disagreed, saying the project won't help Everglades restoration.

"The biggest key question of Everglades Restoration and the whole plumbing system of South Florida," she said, "is how to keep from keeping Okeechobee so full that you're always dumping it or it's always about to break the dike, and how to have enough water for these existing users."

The Lake Point stormwater treatment facility is far too small to clean massive discharges of polluted water flowing from Lake Okeechobee, Hurchalla said.

"You could build stormwater treatment areas all along C-44 (the St. Lucie Canal) and run the water around and around and around in them, but when they're dumping Lake Okeechobee that wouldn't make a dime's worth of difference," Hurchalla said.

The rocks beneath the Lake Point property are too porous to store water, and the stormwater treatment facility would be too expensive to operate, Hurchalla said.

The Lake Point property was not targeted for acquisition as part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, Hurchalla said. And the Army Corps of Engineers is building a much larger Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area farther east on the St. Lucie Canal.

It makes no sense to drain more water from Lake Okeechobee to supply utilities in Palm Beach County, Hurchalla said.

"There isn't more water to give away in Lake Okeechobee," she said. "Why would the (water) district be celebrating they found a backdoor way to give away more water from Lake Okeechobee?"

LAND DEAL

Here are the highlights of Lake Point Restoration's agreement with South Florida Water Management District:

Lake Point has the right to mine rock and sand from a 1,006-acre section of its 2,255-acre property at 25818 S.W. Kanner Highway for up to 20 years.

After the mining operation is completed, Lake Point will redevelop about 1,800 acres of land into a stormwater treatment facility and donate the property to the South Florida Water Management District.

The water management district has "sole and absolute discretion" over all aspects of the development and operation of the Lake Point project.

The Lake Point project is exempt from the county's permitting requirements because it is a public stormwater management project.

Ownership of the property will revert back to Lake Point if authorities terminate or suspend the mining approvals for more than 120 days.

Martin County will receive 150 acres of land on Kanner Highway for use as a county recreation area.

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Daphne Webb posted a new update:
over 3 years ago

More on how Maggy works hard to save Florida!

Sunshine State News: Did Environmental Icon Maggy Hurchalla Finally Outsmart Herself?

By: NANCY SMITH | Posted: December 9, 2013 3:55 AM
I Beg to Differ
Technology might finally have outsmarted Maggy Hurchalla, one of the state's leading environmentalists -- a champion of Everglades restoration and the author of Martin County's controversial, often-litigious, comprehensive plan rewrites.

What technology are we talking about? Her just-surfaced private email. The kind that never seems to go away. One of the "letters" she wrote to a county commissioner has become a focal point in a lawsuit against her for "tortious interference," legal lingo for interfering with a company's ability to conduct business.

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Lake Point, a rock mine located in Martin County, filed the lawsuit against Hurchalla last February, claiming she worked "aggressively behind the scenes" making false statements in an attempt to kill a deal made with the previous commission majority that would transfer the 2,000-acre property to a state agency and allow mining for 20 years.

And in so doing, claims the suit, the five-time Martin County commissioner "has had a material impact on Lake Point’s business operation, costing time and money and harming the reputation of the project and the owners. Hurchalla is singling out Lake Point and is attempting to put Lake Point out of business.”

Hurchalla's inner circle scoffs and calls Lake Point's action a despicable SLAPP suit (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation). They predict she will be vindicated and her First Amendment rights confirmed.

Maybe. But read "Hurchalla-Fielding Email Exchange: Evidence of Skulduggery in Lake Point Case?" in the latest edition of Martin County Currents. It is an outstanding telling of Hurchalla's alleged take-charge involvement in the new commission majority's dealing with Lake Point.
Maggy Hurchalla and Janet RenoMaggy Hurchalla, left, and Janet Reno / Credit: University of FloridaHide
As the story will tell you, Hurchalla had made several public comments that Lake Point destroyed 60 acres of wetlands, even though Martin County Growth Management Director Nicki van Vonno reported to the commission that no wetlands had been destroyed. Hurchalla also charged that Lake Point's rock pit was deeper than allowed by the county's comprehensive plan, which the county has not verified and Lake Point disputes.

In the email, dated Jan. 12 -- just as the new commission majority was gearing up -- Hurchalla, using the code name "DEEP rockpit," appears to give advice to at least one commissioner on how to proceed to get out of the Lake Point deal:

“Avoid discussion of other issues," Hurchalla advises. "Don’t complicate things. Just set up a meeting to legally void that contract. Don’t issue any cease and desist order on the mining. Get the contract cancelled and wait for staff to come back. Doug (Commissioner Doug Smith) will scream that you are missing an opportunity to save the river and giving up money due the county. Engineering will back him up. (Don) Donaldson is Doug’s man.”

Commissioner Ed Fielding's response: “Thanks for the input, Maggy.”

(Click here for Hurchalla's private email with Fielding's response, attached to Lake Point's legal motion filed Nov. 25 in district court asking that the county be compelled to produce all commissioners' private emails that pertain to Lake Point, and to testify about them under oath.)

"Hurchalla is singling out Lake Point and is attempting to put Lake Point out of business,” the suit claims.

Now, this seems a little far-fetched, wouldn't you think? How could any one person's sticks and stones inflict so much damage on a multimillion-dollar business?

Because Maggy Hurchalla is no ordinary Martin County citizen. Her word carries enormous weight. She is the most powerful person in the county -- more powerful even than "unelected commissioner" Virginia Sherlock, the environmental attorney who keeps county staff in line and commissioners on the same page as Hurchalla.

Maggy -- everybody affectionately calls her by her first name -- has bona fide environmental credentials that elevate the county's standing as a quality place to live. At 72, she is beloved throughout Martin, the sister of former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, brought up in Miami on the edge of the Everglades, a passionate conservationist who worked on the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) at its conception.

But the community is about to discover there are two Maggy Hurchallas -- public Maggy and puppeteer Maggy. I saw them both in the 28 years I lived on the Treasure Coast.

Public Maggy is the easy-going, charasmatic former Martin County commissioner who has pied-piper charisma, who kayaks gently in local waterways and shares with young and old alike her fierce love of nature and the environment that makes Martin County special. Public Maggy is the one who can laugh at adversity, who shines in every public opportunity, even volunteers to make a surprise guest voice appearance on “The Simpsons” FOX-TV show with sister Janet.

Martin County, almost to its last resident, admires public Maggy, and for all of those reasons she has earned her place in their heart.

But the other Maggy, the Maggy few see, lives behind the curtain. Puppeteer Maggy loves power, loves control. By all accounts, one of the hardest things Maggy ever had to face in public life was losing that power, losing her commission seat in 1994 to Elmira Gainey. Her way back into the limelight was through the Martin County Conservation Alliance, which she "remade" by removing all members who had connections in the business community -- some of the very people who helped establish the alliance in the first place. During the 1990s, The Stuart News fielded bitter complaints that Maggy had driven a wedge between citizens who follow her lead and those who don't -- particularly those in any business loosely connected with development. Their point of view was unwelcome.

Puppeteer Maggy never ran for office again, but when a no-growth majority was elected to the County Commission in 1996, she "volunteered" to rewrite the county's comprehensive plan -- particularly the parts that involved growth management and wetlands. Legal challenges have never been a problem for Maggy. It's right if she says so, the risk of defending a costly lawsuit is justified -- damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.

Maggy has always had powerful friends on Jupiter Island. During at least some of the years she didn't have the commission majority she wanted, attorneys for the alliance -- usually with 1000 Friends of Florida's backing -- filed suit against the county.

Puppeteer Maggy tends her reputation like a garden, allowing journalists to write without correction that she "helped create" Martin County’s four-story height limit, even though she did not. Martin County's four-story height limit was formulated by the commission in place the same year Maggy was elected. By the time she had anything to do with it, the height limit was a done deal.

This is the Maggy who has one voice for "the citizens," and another for those who, like Sherlock and County Commission Chair Sarah Heard, do her bidding. For 20 years as county commissioner, if she believed it would bring more people to Martin, Maggy voted against it or worked behind the scenes to marginalize it. Moving the county from septic tanks to sewers was one of those things.

Since the early 1970s she has pulled the strings that made the county in her image.

Martin residents get their first glimpse -- it's just a glimpse for now -- of this other side of Maggy Hurchalla in her Jan. 12 email. There could be more to come if Lake Point lawyers get their hands on Commission Chair Heard's hard drive.

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Daphne Webb posted a new update:
over 3 years ago

SLAPP suit against former Miamian Maggie Hurchalla draws a plea for financial help

Miami billionaire George Lindemann Jr. has been engaged in a bitter lawsuit against one of Florida's environmental leaders, Maggie Hurchalla. Lindemann, a well-known Miami real estate developer, invested property he has converted to a rock mine at the edge of the Everglades Agricultural Area; Florida's black hole. According to Wikipedia, "A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition."

A 2008 issue brief to the Florida Senate notes, "What … distinguishes a SLAPP is that the apparent motive behind it is to prevent the SLAPP defendant from exercising his or her constitutionally protected right to petition or to penalize him or her for doing so. It is for this reason, opponents of SLAPPs argue, that the filer typically does not prevail in the action in court. The filer, however, may “succeed” if the litigation costs and time divert the SLAPP defendant from pursing the political activity that prompted the litigation. Because deciphering the motives of the plaintiff may be difficult, research and legislation on the topic of SLAPPs often focus instead on the nature of the conduct giving rise to the litigation in the first place (i.e., addressing a governmental agency)."

Hurchalla, a former Martin County commissioner whose suburban sprawl positions won her both admirers and then the enmity of Florida's pro-growth elites, is an environmentalist who grew up in Miami with siblings including former US attorney general Janet Reno. Lindemann according to Hurchalla has "an interesting history", including board leadership in the Bass Museum and as a major art collector. Although the family fortune derives from New York City cable TV -- the family is one of the largest shareholders of Verizon -- , Lindemann proved an astute investor in the early 2000s on Biscayne Boulevard and then looked north to the scramble for property rights at the edge of the Everglades for more lucrative opportunities.

The history how the state of Florida empowered developers to reach out and choke civic opponents of individual projects is one of those tales that deserves a book of its own, with SLAPP suits a central chapter. The book's theme would be how the gradual whittling down of legal standing for Floridians has been accompanied by an unbalanced grab for power by the state, by corporations and shareholders.

I am going to contribute to Maggie's "SLAPP-back fund" and I hope our readers will, too … The following words are Maggie's:

MAGGY’S SLAPP-BACK FUND PO Box 891, Stuart, Fl. 34995

In January of 2013 I became the subject of a SLAPP Suit filed by the Lake Point rockpit people. That’s a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. It’s something that developers do to shut down public discussion through fear of massive legal fees.

If you want to know about the grandiose claims for the project which is being marketed to Asian investors, go to:

Lake Point Capital Partners

After the rapid sell-out success of Lake Point EcoVentures Phase I Limited Partnership, the $10M/20 EB-5 investor loan-based program marketed in 2011, Lake Point’s principals and the General Partners of American Venture Solutions Regional Center decided to make a second $10M private offering, this one based in equity.

Now: if you look at most equity participation structures in EB-5 Projects, you will find that the EB-5 investor’s real capital stake is invariably diluted with administrative fees, inflated valuations, and the like. That’ s not how we do business. Instead, the 20 Lake Point Capital Partners EB-5 Limited Partners will own an 10% actual interest in Lake Point Holdings, which has appraised in excess of U.S. $100 Million. This dollar-for-dollar investment is not subject to balloon repayment and will not receive interest payments… it is instead intended for the true venture capital EB-5 Investor who wishes to remain alongside for the ride with the Lindemann Group until some point in the future when the Project is sold, merged, or otherwise liquidated. While no at-risk investment can guarantee solid returns, the historical success of the Lindemann Group is unparalleled in EB-5 offerings and offers a real, bona fide capital venture opportunity to participate directly with a Forbes group of investors seeking to maximize profit realizations for their investment in Lake Point.

The project originally claimed to be a polo club. Then it claimed to be the key to saving the Everglades and the Indian River Lagoon. Then they said it would sell water to utilities from Palm Beach County to Dade County.

I have loudly and publicly pointed out that it doesn’t save the Everglades or the Lagoon.

At this point Lake Point appears to be claiming that everyone knew that Lake Point always planned to transfer water from Lake Okeechobee through its Martin County rockpit and sell it to cities further south. It seems likely that when sales on rock fell, Lake Point focused on privatizing water from the Lake.

They are suing Martin County because the County is enforcing its land development regulations. Lake Point claims they are exempt.

They are suing me for “tortious interference” because they claim that I made the Water Management District and the County ask questions about their project.

My legal bills to date are $99,026.19. I expect Mr. Lindemann's lawyers have charged him over $1,000,000 by now.

I’m starting a legal defense fund now so I can continue to defend myself and continue to speak out about things that hurt the environment and hurt taxpayers.

In case I die and they can't sue me anymore, or I actually raise more money than is necessary, the Trust document for the Fund states:" Upon payment of all of my accrued legal expenses,any excess funds remaining in the Trust Fund shall be disbursed only to the Trustee or manager of a similar fund established fora similar purpose, that is, to pay for the legal defense of any person named as a defendant in a SLAPP suit associated with an environmental issue or to an organization that has as its primary function the defense of environmental issues or activities."

In Martin County, county commission candidates with financial ties to Lake Point are trying to unseat incumbent commissioners who have questioned the project. The challengers are making outrageous claims that the project owners are noble philanthropists who wants to save the Everglades and are being unfairly treated. No one is contesting those claims because no one wants to get SLAPPED.It's clear that if the two challengers are elected they will cease defending the County's comprehensive plan and let Lake Point do whatever it wants.

I will pursue counter claims. I’ve set up a website called slappmaggy.com where you can read all the gory details. I hope to have lots of information on it in a few weeks.

Someone has to stand up to bullies with too much money and not enough sense.

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Daphne Webb posted a new update:
over 3 years ago

Lindeman Sentenced to Prison for Killing Horse to save himself embarassment

Equestrian, Trainer Sentenced To Prison In Horse-killing Scheme
January 19, 1996|By Matt O'Connor, Tribune Staff Writer.

300
The heir to one of America's great fortunes, an accomplished equestrian with Olympic hopes, was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Chicago to 33 months in prison for having a once-prized horse killed for insurance money.

George Lindemann Jr., whose father made hundreds of millions of dollars in cellular telephones, cable TV and contact lenses, said nothing as he hurried from the Dirksen Federal Building with his parents.

Co-defendant Marion Hulick, a nationally known trainer, was given a 21-month prison term after she tearfully pleaded for mercy so she could care for her adult son who is a quadriplegic.

U.S. District Judge George Marovich said he spent many sleepless nights pondering why Lindemann, with access to such fabulous wealth, ordered Charisma, a thoroughbred who didn't live up to his billing, killed to collect $250,000 in insurance.

At the trial last September, the defense had made that argument--that $250,000 was meaningless to Lindemann--the cornerstone of its case, but a federal jury convicted him and Hulick of three counts of wire fraud each.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Susan Cox, who prosecuted the case, suggested Lindemann's motive was to avoid the embarrassment of selling Charisma, admitting to the close-knit horse set that he had erred in paying so much for the failed horse.

U.S. Atty. James Burns compared Lindemann to "a very wealthy kid that has a toy that he doesn't like or gets mad at and throws it on the floor and stomps on it."

"He had a horse that he thought was going to be a champion horse, it turned out to be a dismal failure, and he hated the horse, so like the expensive toy, he got rid of it," Burns told reporters. "This whole case demonstrated unmitigated arrogance."

Judge Marovich also fined Lindemann $500,000 and ordered him to pay restitution of $250,000 and the cost of imprisonment.

Lindemann's prison term, the maximum possible, was the stiffest yet resulting from the government's massive probe of the killing of horses for insurance payouts.

In what started out as a probe of the mysterious disappearance of candy heiress Helen Brach, authorities caught hit man Tommy Burns red-handed bludgeoning a horse to death in Florida in early 1991. Burns cooperated and implicated some of the nation's leading trainers, owners and riders in 15 horse killings.

So far, prosecutors have won convictions of 18 defendants, charges are pending against two others, and additional indictments could be returned as soon as next month, sources said.

In addition, four other defendants--including stable owner Richard Bailey, suspected in Brach's murder-for-hire--were convicted in a separate scheme of bilking rich, older women in grossly inflated horse purchases.

Hulick, 61, a trainer at the Lindemann-owned Cellular Farms in Connecticut, cried uncontrollably through much of the two-hour hearing.

In cursory fashion after her conviction, Hulick admitted her involvement in Charisma's electrocution in a letter to the judge. But when Marovich asked her Thursday to testify in more detail under oath, she refused. She has also refused to cooperate with prosecutors.

In a wrenching scene, Hulick pleaded for probation for her son's sake, crying out, "I'll do anything you want me to do to help."

Saying he had to hold his nose while he did it, Marovich gave Hulick credit for partially accepting responsibility. The decision cut her sentence by at least 6 months.

Marovich rejected a bid by attorney Dan Webb to allow Lindemann, 31, to remain free on bond pending his appeal. He must surrender to prison in several weeks.

In recently filed court papers, the government revealed that Lindemann had admitted to a probation officer that he had used marijuana during his trial.

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Daphne Webb posted a new update:
over 3 years ago

George Lindeman Jr is a HORSE KILLER

Top Equestrian Is Convicted In Horse Insurance Scheme

New York Times Published: September 22, 1995

A prominent equestrian who is the son of one of the richest men in America, was convicted of three counts of wire fraud today in the climax of a four-year Federal investigation into horse killing and insurance fraud.

George Lindemann Jr., 31, faces a mandatory prison term, which prosecutors said could be between 15 months and 15 years, and a maximum $3 million fine for ordering the 1990 killing of a show horse, Charisma, to collect $250,000 in insurance money.

A co-defendant, Marion Hulick, was convicted of the same charges. Mrs. Hulick, 60, was the trainer and manager at the Lindemann family's horse farm near Greenwich, Conn.

Mr. Lindemann, the son of George Lindemann, who made a fortune in the cellular-phone business, winced as the guilty verdicts were read. Sentencing was set for Dec. 18. The defendants left the courthouse without talking to reporters. Defense lawyers said they would appeal.

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For the younger Mr. Lindemann, a rider who has been highly ranked nationally and internationally and who aspired to the United States Olympic team, the conviction almost certainly means he will not be able to compete in Atlanta next summer. He continued to compete since his indictment last year, and during the trial he expressed optimism he could qualify for the team.

The prosecution of Mr. Lindemann, whose family fortune is estimated at $600 million, proves that "anyone in this industry who kills a horse for insurance will be aggressively investigated," said an Assistant United States Attorney, Steven Miller.

The United States Attorney in Chicago, James B. Burns, said: "We hope this sends a message to the equestrian industry. Their dirty business has been exposed."

The trial was the first to focus on horse killings since the show horse world was shaken in July 1994 by charges against some of its leading members, including Mr. Lindemann and Mrs. Hulick. Sixteen people, including Donna Brown, the wife of the 1976 Olympic rider William (Buddy) Brown, have pleaded guilty to charges related to horse killings.

Another person, Barney Ward, the owner of Castle Hill farm in Brewster, N.Y., is expected to go to trial later this year, and several others face charges in state courts.

Federal officials said they stumbled onto the horse-killing schemes while pursuing leads in the 1977 disappearance of the candy heiress Helen Vorhees Brach.

The trail first led to a group of horse traders who defrauded widows in horse deals. One, Richard Bailey, was sentenced to 30 years in prison. The Federal judge who sentenced him said that he believed that Mr. Bailey had solicited Mrs. Brach's murder after she threatened to complain to the police that he had cheated her.

Investigators' attention turned to horse killings and insurance fraud after the February 1991 arrest of a man who was caught with an accomplice breaking the leg of a show horse, Streetwise, in Florida.

The man, Tom Burns, also known as Tim Ray, cooperated with the F.B.I. and led the authorities to clients who he said had paid him $5,000 and more to kill their horses so that they could collect insurance money.

Mr. Burns, 34, testified that in response to a call from Mr. Ward in December 1990 he arranged to go to the Lindemann estate near Greenwich, Cellular Farms, and meet with Mrs. Hulick. Mr. Burns said she told him "George" wanted a horse killed while he was in Asia and that she had agreed to his $25,000 price. Mr. Burns said that that night, in the farm's stables, he attached an electrical cord to the horse he had been shown and plugged in the cord.

On the witness stand, Mr. Burns, admitted he had lied several times to Federal investigators about the Lindemann case. That led Mr. Lindemann's lawyer, Jay Goldberg, to call Mr. Burns a "con man" and, referring to his admissions of lying, to urge the jury not to believe him. "He's fooled professionals for years," Mr. Goldberg said.

But prosecutors introduced other witnesses and telephone records to corroborate Mr. Burns's story.

Gerald Shepherd, who went to Cellular Farms to apply for a job that December, said he saw Mr. Burns meet with Mrs. Hulick and that she had pointed out a remote area of the farm and told Mr. Burns he could park there when he returned that night. She also took Mr. Burns to Charisma's stall, he testified.

Charisma died that night.

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Daphne Webb posted a new update:
over 3 years ago

Maggy Hurchalla suffers from SLAPP Suit

In January of 2013, Maggy Hurchalla became the subject of a SLAPP Suit filed by the Lake Point rock pit people. That’s a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. It’s something that developers do to shut down public discussion through fear of massive legal fees.

If you want to know about the owner of Lake Point, google “George Lindemann, Jr.” He has an interesting history.

If you want to know about the grandiose claims for the project which is being marketed to Asian investors, go to: www.AmericanVentureSolutions.com/eb5project2.html

The project originally claimed to be a polo club. Then it claimed to be the key to saving the Everglades and the Indian River Lagoon. Then they said it would sell water to utilities from Palm Beach County to Dade County.

I have loudly and publicly pointed out that it doesn’t save the Everglades or the Lagoon.

At this point Lake Point appears to be claiming that everyone knew that Lake Point always planned to transfer water from Lake Okeechobee through its Martin County rockpit and sell it to cities further south. It seems likely that when sales on rock fell, Lake Point focused on privatizing water from the Lake.

They are suing Martin County because the County is enforcing its land development regulations. Lake Point claims they are exempt.

They are suing me for “tortious interference” because they claim that I made the Water Management District and the County ask questions about their project.

My legal bills to date are $99,026.19. I expect Mr. Lindemann's lawyers have charged him over $1,000,000 by now.

I’m starting a legal defense fund now so I can continue to defend myself and continue to speak out about things that hurt the environment and hurt taxpayers.

In case I die and they can't sue me anymore, or I actually raise more money than is necessary, the Trust document for the Fund states: "Upon payment of all of my accrued legal expenses,any excess funds remaining in the Trust Fund shall be disbursed only to the Trustee or manager of a similar fund established for a similar purpose, that is, to pay for the legal defense of any person named as a defendant in a SLAPP suit associated with an environmental issue or to an organization that has as its primary function the defense of environmental issues or activities."

In Martin County, county commission candidates with financial ties to Lake Point are trying to unseat incumbent commissioners who have questioned the project. The challengers are making outrageous claims that the project owners are noble philanthropists who want to save the Everglades and are being unfairly treated. No one is contesting those claims because no one wants to get SLAPPED. It's clear that if the two challengers are elected they will cease defending the County's comprehensive plan and let Lake Point do whatever it wants.

Someone has to stand up to bullies with too much money and not enough sense.

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