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Republican Party recycled Waste Management contributions to Bondi before antitrust deal

By Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org 

In December 2015, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office cut a secret antitrust deal with Waste Management that allowed it to complete its big money acquisition of Southern Waste Systems and Sun Recycling, including Sun’s Broward recycling facilities.

In the six years before the agreement, as Bondi campaigned for election and re-election, Waste Management contributed more than $150,000 to the Republican Party of Florida, Gov. Rick Scott and Bondi.

Bondi and Scott received little of that money directly. Instead, state election records show, nearly $147,000 went to the Republican Party, which recycled much of it back to the campaigns of Scott, Bondi and other top Republicans.

The state’s accord with Waste Management included a number of pre-merger “agreements or commitments” that were spelled out in a confidential letter to the trash company’s lawyers by Lizabeth A. Brady, Bondi’s chief of multistate antitrust enforcement. They included Waste Management’s pledge that Sun, since renamed LGL Recycling, would allow cities to renew their single-stream recycling service contracts for another five years at the same terms and price – about $50 a ton – when they expire next month, the letter said.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi

For unexplained reasons, Bondi never told the intended beneficiaries – the 17 Broward cities that contract for recycling with a joint venture co-owned by Sun named Sun Bergeron – about the deal. The cities, representing about half of Broward’s population, are Coconut Creek, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hillsboro Beach, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Lauderhill, Margate, Miramar, North Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Pembroke Park, Plantation, Sunrise, Tamarac, West Park and Wilton Manors.

The deal became public late last month when Florida Bulldog obtained and published regulator Brady’s Dec. 3, 2015 letter.

No enforcement

Besides not informing cities, Bondi also has not sought to enforce her office’s antitrust “understanding” with Waste Management – including agreements that cities believe would avert imminent, hefty price increases now being demanded to recycle their trash. Her office has declined to comment.

Public disclosure of the Attorney General’s letter has spurred cities to action.

Coral Springs spent weeks negotiating a new five-year recycling contract with Waste Management that was fast-tracked for approval at last Tuesday’s commission meeting to beat a July 2 deadline when it was suddenly yanked off the agenda. The proposed $96-a-ton contract, featuring a 120-day escape clause that could force the city to pay even higher costs should today’s bad market for the sale of recyclables get worse, was expected to serve as a template upon which other cities could piggyback.

Coral Springs Commissioner Dan Daley

“It’s nothing against Waste Management. I just wanted to make sure our residents are protected,” said Commissioner Dan Daley, who pulled the item with the support of his fellow commissioners. “I was on the commission when we entered into our current contract and tipping fees were cut in half. Now we’re right back to where we were several years ago.

“If you gave assurances that you would make good on a renewal for the existing contract at the same prices, you need to do that,” Daley said. “Changing market conditions are not my problem. You have to eat that.”

One day before Coral Springs acted, a lawyer for the City of Sunrise formally notified the Sun Bergeron joint venture [JV] that based on the Attorney General’s letter it was exercising its option to renew its contract at the lower pricing through July 2, 2023. “If Sun Bergeron’s written concurrence is not received on or before June 15, 2018 the City intends to pursue all available remedies,” wrote attorney David S. Dee.

‘Unfounded interpretation’

On Friday, Palm Beach Gardens-based LGL Recycling, a partner in Sun Bergeron, shot back with “a complete rejection of your unfounded interpretation” of the Attorney General’s letter.

“LGL has not and will not, consent to the JV’s renewal of the agreement on the same terms, conditions and pricing. LGL is under no requirement to do so,” LGL executive John Casagrande wrote to Dee. He noted that given the “well-publicized collapse of the worldwide recyclables commodities market” such renewals with cities “would most certainly result in unsustainable losses.”

Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan

Today, with expiration of the existing Sun Bergeron recycling contracts just three weeks away, what happens next is up to Sunrise and the other cities.

On Friday, Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan called on Attorney General Bondi to take “immediate administrative action to enforce” the Waste Management agreement.

“If this hadn’t come to light now, in weeks we’d be trying to explain to residents and businesses why their rates doubled. Now we’re fighting,” Ryan said in an interview. “Why hide something that was so critically important to protecting the financial health of the municipalities?”

The state’s review of Waste Management’s takeover of assets of Southern Waste Systems (SWS) and Sun Recycling was made to examine how the deal would impact “competition in Broward County for waste disposal and recycling and the operation of the Sun Bergeron Joint Venture.”

Sun Bergeron is owned 50-50 by LGL Recycling and Bergeron Environmental and Recycling. Owner Ron Bergeron, the wealthy Davie businessman, is suing his partners, claiming they sold the recycling facilities and permits used by Sun Bergeron and its city customers behind his back. LGL is countersuing.

Bergeron attorney Mitchell Berger has sought to depose Brady about the letter and the antitrust review of Waste Management’s $525-million buyout of SWS. The Attorney General’s Office is resisting.

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Latest comments

  • All the press ignores the crux of the issues- That citizens remain ignorant of their own garbage for a reason . Profits are what keep comingling, single stream recycling and ‘waste to energy’ in existence, instead of composting, charging by the pound and an honest market determination of competition.
    And cities like Tampa continue to bulldoze anything they don’t like, trucking lad and asbestos to small rural communities.

  • Thank you. Ms. Bondi et al prosecuted RPOF Chairman Jim Greer under money laundering Stautes for shenanigans like this. Where is the equal justice?

  • See, I Told You that we women are not always vestal virgins ! Sort us out. It’s easy since most of us care about others, our own and This Nation’s ability to pay its bills The HONEST WAY.

    OUT with Bondi asap.

  • When news of the victory finally reached Europe, church bells rang out in cities all across the continent. The Battle of Lepanto was a decisive victory, with only 40 of the over 300 Moslem ships surviving the engagement. The Turkish force of some 75,000 men was in ruins.

    The battle, although a great victory for Catholic Europe, did not end the threat of invasion, or completely break the power of the Ottoman Turks. More naval and land battles would follow in the years to come, and Vienna itself would come under attack again, and yet again.

    Today, the long clash between Christendom and Islam is still evident in the political and ethnic geography of Europe, Africa, Byzantium, and north into Russia. The battle also extends, in varying degrees, throughout the Near and Far East, and the Islands of the Pacific as well.

    Many Christian knights, soldiers, and sailors have died defending Christendom against the onslaughts of Islam down through the centuries. Today, the borders of many European countries, Canada, and the United States are practically wide open, and the old enemy is invited to come in and make himself at home. And many ‘Christians’ in the West are just too busy enjoying their material prosperity to be bothered with unpleasant history.

    But the enemy has not forgotten history. He remembers it all too well, and he is still deadly serious about his religion. His goal over the years has not changed in the slightest, and he is very patient. The enemy within is now smiling, just biding his time.

    And long dead Christian knights, our ancestors in the Faith, are probably turning over in their graves right about now, trying desperately to shout out a warning. The final chapter, it seems, has yet to be written…

    The text of St. Matthew runs as follows:
    • Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Verse 3)
    • Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land. (Verse 4)
    • Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted. (Verse 5)
    • Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill. (Verse 6)
    • Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. (Verse 7)
    • Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God. (Verse 8)
    • Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. (Verse 9)
    • Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Verse 10)

    Hundreds of millions of Christians are mad that Christians (most, but not all) are showing no backbone. Put God first! How often is The Holy Bible carried into meetings, conferences, class rooms, and so on? I assume that most Christians want to make this a better world.

    Some God given suggestions are the following:

    1. If allowed by copyright laws, please show the last 5-10 minutes of several inspirational movies at the end of Republican events (Please do it ASAP!). Some suggested movies include Ben-Hur, The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima, Scarface, Pretty Woman, The Verdict, American Sniper, Lone Survivor, Urban Cowboy, The Robe, The Tuskegee Airmen, Angels with Dirty Faces, The Sound of Music, To Sir, With Love, The Alamo, The Green Berets, Flight, etc. It takes more than money to inspire people. You need to bring tears to people’s eyes. Please inspire the people of America! A few movies with good endings should help. However, just don’t show the movie clips as a political tactic. Hopefully, you yourself will have tears in your eyes. Also, play upbeat music, (some Christian songs like Holy, Holy, Holy and some pop (Katy Perry, Selena, Whitney Houston, Blondie), country (Taylor Swift, Dolly Parton), soul (Temptations), Rock (Journey, Led Zeppelin, Def Leppard), etc. You want people to come away from Republican events with amazing passion and zeal.

    2. People should play sports or exercise to stay in shape. Also, topless clubs, bars, gun ranges, concerts, and so on are good places to relax. Do not judge, compare, nor make assumptions!

    3. It is always a good idea to be prepared for a national disaster. People should have a supply of bottled water, non-perishable food, candles, 24 inch cable ties (for making a citizen’s arrest), first aid kit, a Bible, a rosary, at least two guns and lots of ammo, pork oil as part of homemade gun grease, sufficient gasoline in their car, etc.

    4. The world has numerous problems because many people are ingrates. Things are a mess because we did it to ourselves. People should thank God always and everywhere.

    5. Let the Republican Party praise God like never before.

    6. TheDivineMercy.org is an extremely important website.
    7. Solve –X = 8(7) in your head.
    8. Don’t panic! Pray hard and help each other!

    Thanks and God bless!

    Notes:

    I wanted to mention a few things about the information above. When you look at the movies
    I have listed you might wonder why in the heck I would have Scarface among the movies. Here is one reason: Toward the end of the movie he (Scarface) killed the “worm” that wanted to kill the mother and her two children. “Blessed are the merciful”.

    I also have Katy Perry listed because many of Katy’s songs have a reference to The Holy Bible/Christianity.

    As far as the pork oil mentioned in the material I sent to you, jihadists are scared to death of pork oil. Please let Sweden, Germany, France, Great Britain, etc, know before it is too late!

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