Monday, April 18, 2016

Who are these people?

Shady Enviro Puppet Group led by odd cast of characters

Bullsugar -- one of the phony astroturf protest groups secretly founded by New York Billionaire hedge fund hustler Paul Tudor Jones to put farmers out of business - popped up out of nowhere in 2015 and left many South Floridians wondering, just who are these people?

Public records show the group is led by inherited oil and gas money, an energy company executive and . . . well . . . a criminal

Here's their background . . .

Their President is a guy named Kenny Hinkle - Here's a mugshot of Mr. Hinkle from a crime he committed just last year.  Kenny filed for Bankruptcy 4 years ago and was sued by American Express for not paying his bills in 2011.  President Hinkle was also arrested for "Violating Marine Rules and Regulations" in the Florida Keys in 2000.

Kenan Siegel, one of the group's "Directors" made a fortune in the oil and gas business.  He once owned a company called "GASAHOLIC" and had a little trouble paying his Florida taxes in 2009. Siegel owns a $2.6 million mansion in Stuart.

The other "Director," a guy named Christopher Maroney, was a former executive with California energy giant SEMPRA ENERGY.

You will excuse us, bullsugar, if we don't take our environmental advice from puppets, criminals and polluters.

[Sources:  Florida Department of State - Division of Corporations, Martin County Clerk of Court, Martin County Property Appraiser and Monroe County Clerk of Court]

Monday, April 4, 2016


"Environmental Terrorists" find 'host' organism to spread fear

'Outsider' Anglers group makes deal with leftist radicals to build membership base in Florida

For 25 years Florida's most trusted voice for anglers and sports fishermen has been the the Coastal Conservation Associaiton of Florida (CCA) - formerly known as the Florida Conservation Association (FCA)

But there's a new kid on the block in the Sunshine State - New Jersey's "Recreational Fishing Alliance" (RFA)

Headquartered in New Jersey, founded by a yacht company and funded by Bass Pro Shops and Yamaha outboard motors, the RFA is led by a serial skirt chaser with at least 2 lawsuits for sexual harassment on his resume  and a research scientist who was arrested for defrauding taxpayers by faking research.  Their claim to fame?  Leading a (so far) unsuccessful boycott of Wal-mart.

Under the guise of an "offer to help" save Florida from its own people, the RFA has jumped in bed with a network of environmental leftists, professional protesters and trust fund liberals to establish legitimacy and, more importantly, a membership base in Florida.  They are now actively engaged in recruiting members, trashing their rivals in the CCA and unwittingly pushing the views of a wacko environmental group on otherwise-occupied, hard-working, everyday Floridians.  All in a play to run Florida's Coastal Conservation Association out of business.

The playbook:  First, the RFA joined up with the militant environmental group "Bullsugar" - a group formed with the help of a hedge fund billionaire to advocate for the annihilation of agriculture in South Florida.  Then they formed (conned) a group of gullible millennial aged fishing guides and named them "Captains for Clean Water" to give their new friends' radical agenda a voice in Southwest Florida.

Next on their list (and most likely their top priority) - use all this to propel a take over of the tried, true and trusted CCA in Florida and become the new voice of of the Florida Fisherman?

Here's hoping the Florida's CCA joins the fight to save their organization and rid our state of this 'invasive species' from New Jersey before its too late.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

We're from New Jersey and We're Here to Help

Last month a group from New Jersey called the "Recreational Fishing Alliance" (RFA) made it their business to come to Florida to tell us how to solve the very difficult and complex problem how to handle discharges from Lake Okeechobee.

Now, anytime a group from New Jersey shows up out of nowhere telling our legislature what they should do with our water . . . well . . . it gets our attention.

And any group seeking to shut down a 100 year old Florida Industry, flood a major portion of our state, uproot families who have been here for generations and relocate entire communities deserve a closer look - especially if they have virtually no connection to the state or its people

So, we've decided to learn more about the RFA and their business down here in the Sunshine State.

We start with the lead researcher and head scientist for the Recreational Fishing Alliance - John Depersenaire . . . He's their resident smart guy.  Presumably he provides the data and the basis for RFAs positions on complex issues like Lake "O"

Mr. Despersenaire has been with the group since 2002 – his bosses say  “his background has made him an invaluable member of the RFA team and the RFA Executive Director, Jim Donofrio called Depersenaire "one of the most honest people I know."
RFA lead scientist John Despersenaire

So how do they explain this ...

Depersenaire, was paid by the federal government to collect data used to manage fish stocks off the New Jersey coast (he was not with RFA at the time).  Depersenaire was paid to collect data on 59 trips at sea from ports in New Jersey between October 2001 and February 2002. 

Funny thing though . . . He lied.  He never left the dock. He never made the trips. He stayed at home. . .  He defrauded the Federal Government and ripped off the taxpayers - all in the name of science and research.

The current head scientist and researcher for the RFA  pleaded guilty falsifying RESEARCH DATA.  He was sentenced to five years probation while agreeing to pay restitution of $29,541, which is the salary he was paid to collect the data.  The case is believed to be the first of its kind in the United States . The data he was supposed to collect is used to assess the health and abundance of fish populations. 

Depersenaire even tried to make the reports look authentic by marring them with coffee stains and blood. He was caught when NOAA agents interviewed fishing vessel captains and they did not know who Depersenaire was. After being confronted, Depersenaire "spilled his guts" and admitted he went on only one of the 60 trips he was paid for.

But wait, there's more . . . Depersenaire blamed it all on 9/11 . . . "After 9-11 things got so bad I couldn't get trips anymore. I'd call and ask them and they wouldn't talk to me. It got to be a real hostile situation," Depersenaire said.  "It's scary to go out 30 or 40 miles in a boat with somebody that doesn't want you," Depersenaire said.  A NOAA spokesman said other observers went out and he never heard anybody use the excuse that the terrorist attacks caused a problem.

We found this excerpt from a 2012 article written for RFA by Depersenaire particularly ironic “The careful monitoring of landings data is important . . accuracy and timeliness of this information is critical.” 

And these people are telling us what to do with our water, and our economy, and our natural resources . . . in our state?

Next up, a look at the leader of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, Jim Donofrio

Stay tuned . . . 

- The Press of Atlantic City, October 28, 2006

- Recreational Fishing Alliance, “Making Waves” August/September 2012

Thursday, July 30, 2015


During a recent feud for funding, Florida lawmakers debated where to spend hundreds of millions of tax dollars for Florida’s most needed environmental projects, but the furious fight to acquire most of that money to buy land in south Florida by the Everglades Foundation has revealed a close financial connection between many of the state's largest activist-based environmental organizations and their high-priced messaging campaigns that all seem to be connected to the same group of wealthy real estate developers, billionaire hedge fund managers, and professional agitators.

This financial subterfuge has funded a Greek chorus of "environmentalists" whose campaigns have little to do with science or the environment and lots to do with a very specific political agenda.
The Everglades Foundation has donated millions of tax-exempt dollars to groups in Florida who help them promote their message of preserving the Florida ecosystem--but only through projects that further their political agenda. The Florida Wildlife Federation, Audubon Society and many other of the state’s largest activist environmental organizations have been almost entirely funded by the Everglades Foundation and have all aggressively promoted the Everglades Foundation talking points and political agenda. The Audubon Society of Florida receives almost 75% of their annual funding from the Everglade Foundation Board of Directors. In 2009, an important legislative year, the Audubon society earned 98% of their total revenues from the Everglades Foundation.
Eerily similar to a Greek chorus, the Everglades Foundation is the main player in an arrangement of paid actors, each playing the same role and squawking the same self-serving statements, but with no science to validate their claims on how to restore the Everglades. Whenever the so-called environmental community lines up behind a certain cause or idea these days, their support will be tainted by the fact that they are all relying on the Everglades Foundation for a good portion of their funding.

Who is behind the Everglades Foundation/Trust:
The Everglades Foundation and the Everglades Trust are two supposedly separate organizations but a closer look at their corporate structure shows the close, nearly identical, relationships between the board members and the two groups.
The Everglades Foundation is, by far, the largest donor to the state's largest environmental groups.
Many other activist organizations also receive a bulk of their revenues from the Everglades Foundation, and each of them have dutifully promoted the same talking points and agenda issues that the Everglades Foundation and Everglades Trust have been parroting.
In 2014, Florida voters approved The Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative, otherwise known as Amendment 1, which set aside approximately a half a billion dollars of the state budget each year to invest in projects that protect the Florida environment and restore the ecosystem of the sunshine state. Amendment 1 established a law to dedicate 33 percent of state excise taxes to provide funding to acquire and improve wildlife management areas, wetlands, forests, fish and wildlife habitats, beaches, shores, recreational trails, parks, working farms and ranches throughout the state.
Although Amendment 1 money was supposed to be used to acquire, restore, improve, and manage conservation lands throughout Florida, the Everglades Foundation lobbied state legislators to spend their entire budget on purchasing property south of Lake Okeechobee from owners who do not wish to sell their land - and thereby forcing them off their properties through eminent domain, rather than spending the money on the other 360+ environmental projects that have already been approved, but are on hold until funding is available.
The Everglades Foundation proclaims that the land south of Lake Okeechobee should be purchased by the state (at a cost of $700 million) and then be used to build a $2 billion taxpayer funded reservoir to hold and clean water runoff from Lake Okeechobee, but the Florida Water Management District directors believe the answer to cleaning and storing water in Florida is north of Lake Okeechobee, where land is less expensive, and available without forcing people off their properties - and where the water storage would be more useful. Bob Dixon, a vocal opponent of the south Lake Okeechobee land purchase stated, “The land south of Lake Okeechobee is too expensive, too small for its purpose and the owners do not want to sell it. The answer to storing and cleaning water for the Florida Everglades is north of Lake Okeechobee. Everyone in water management knows this. Buying the land south of Lake Okeechobee is a farce. There must be another reason these hedge fund managers and real estate developers who operate these supposed activist organizations want this valuable property. It’s these same type of developers, politicians and money-men who caused the Everglades to be dried out for development in the first place. I don’t trust them.”
Non-profit status:
A search of the organization’s 2013 990 tax form reveals that most of the officers of the Everglades Foundation are making well over $100,000 per year in salary, with the vice president of development making over $160,000. The Everglades Foundation has registered itself as a 501(c)3 organization which allows it to accept tax-free donations and also offer IRS income-tax deductions to anyone who gives them a donation. Most organizations that register with the IRS for tax exempt status place their IRS 990 tax filing form prominently on their website so their donors, and the government, know they are operating legally--but the Everglades Foundation does not. The group has a low rating on Charity Navigator and they make it very difficult to ascertain where the money comes from and where it goes. In the 2014 tax filing year, the Everglades Foundation could not complete their tax returns on time and requested a 6-month extension to get their files and tax documents in order.
Soon after Florida lawmakers voted against buying the land south of Lake Okeechobee during the 2015 legislative session, the Everglades Foundation tried a different approach to take control of the south Everglades land. They enlisted Senator Thad Altman to submit a plan in the 2015 special legislative session to approve almost $50 million in the state budget to initiate a $450 bond fund that would be used to force property owners south of Lake Okeechobee to sell their land to the government so it can be used to build unneeded water reservoirs. That plan also failed, but it uncovered the close connections between the Everglades Foundation and the other seemingly separate groups who were also promoting the points of the Everglades Foundation - to acquire the south Everglades land.
The land south of Lake Okeechobee was both too small and in the wrong location to have any real impact. Many other plans are being prioritized by the Florida legislature to move, clean and store water in ways that are better for the environment and better for the people who live in the affected areas. The successful launch of a pilot “water farming” project on the east coast of Florida has also led many state politicians to look for alternatives to storing water that are cheaper and more beneficial to the environment, and residents.
George Caulkins, who owns a Florida orange grove that his father planted in the early 1960’s, was one of the first inductees to the South Florida Water Management District project to pay farmers to hold water on their own properties instead of releasing the runoff into the estuaries. The program exceeded expectations by storing and treating over 12 acres of water - twice the amount that was estimated. The results astounded scientists at the Water Management District who realized that the water farm also cleaned billions of gallons of water while capturing about 75 percent of the phosphorous and 50 percent of the nitrogen that otherwise would flow into the Martin County estuaries—proving that water farming could be a viable and cost-effective alternative to purchasing property and constructing a $2 billion reservoir.
Now the Everglades Trust "echo chamber" is assailing the Sugar Industry for pre-harvest burning of sugar cane even though air quality tests on the burning, an agricultural staple since the time of Moses, does not violate federal clean air standards. The Everglades Trust has funded the Sierra Club to launch this campaign of disinformation.
The State and Federal plan to spend over $10 billion on restoration efforts in the Florida Everglades is working and producing good results. With phosphorous levels now cut by 55%, Everglades water is testing cleaner than rain water and meets federal water quality standards. We are in the final stages of Everglades restoration. We need to finish the job the Army Corps of Engineers began and see it through to fruition - and keep self-serving activist organizations from spoiling the Florida Everglades and busting the state budget with foolish plans to develop expensive reservoirs located on the wrong land south of Lake O.
By TJ Markle
Florida Courant

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Who's your Daddy?

Florida Enviros now Bought and Paid for?

Billionaire hedge funder and Florida Keys mansion dweller Paul Tudor Jones appears to be buying up Florida's environmental movement.

Federal tax records obtained by Southern Exposure confirm that Jones is building a Hessian Army of environmental mercenaries to attack Florida Sugar Farmers.  The tax records show a clear and convincing pattern of Wall Street style funding schemes employed by Jones through the his shell organization -- The Everglades Foundation -- to buy up the message and messengers in Florida's environmental community.

Joneses' money has made eager beaver enviros (who are hard up for cash and attention) abandon their  own fights in areas north of Lake Okeechobee in order to focus on his fight to rid Florida of Sugar Farmers south of Lake O.

Here's how it works:

  1. Jones pumps millions of his personal fortune into his organization - The Everglades Trust
  2. The Everglades Trust then showers other Florida Environmental Groups with cash (provided in large part by Jones)
  3. Those other Florida Environmental Groups then mysteriously (not) spend more and more time advocating for issues that are important the The Everglades Trust (i.e. Paul Tudor Jones) - and less time on the issues they were founded to address.

The sad part is Jones and his money are corrupting the fight to clean up the springs, and lakes, and rivers in the rest of Florida as lap dog legislators and step-n-fetchit environmentalists line up to get their pat on the head from the hedge fund billionaire.

[Source: IRS Form 990, 2009-2013]