Billionaire car dealer Braman also gives big to Lopez-Cantera’s Senate run

Norman Braman, left and Carlos Lopez-Cantera

By Francisco Alvarado
Having raised $5 million for Marco Rubio’s presidential aspirations, billionaire automobile dealer Norman Braman is also betting big money on another Miami Republican who is seeking to succeed Rubio in the U.S. Senate in 2016, Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera.

Hollywood neighbors beset by traffic fear further expansion by Ben Gamla school

Work on the new Ben Gamla school in Hollywood nears completion. Photo: William Gjebre

By William Gjebre
Representatives of a traffic-congested Hollywood neighborhood are expressing new fears regarding the Ben Gamla middle-high public charter school complex, now under construction, after discovering that ex-congressman Peter Deutsch, a top school official, is linked to acquisition of additional nearby properties which they say could be for future expansion.

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Broward Health commissioner upgrades unpaid post to well-paid lobbyist for hospital district

Clarence McKee, center, with  Gov. Rick Scott and former U.S. Rep. Allen West. Photo: McKee Communications

By Dan Christensen
When Clarence V. McKee quit his commissioner’s seat on the governing board of Broward Health in January, records show he urged his colleagues to keep an eye on consulting contracts doled out by the tax supported public health care system. But less than a month later and without any public discussion by his former colleagues, McKee upgraded his unpaid position to a lobbying contract worth $65,000.

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The nation’s state supreme court judges reveal scant financial information


By Reity O’Brien, Kytja Weir and Chris Young
Center for Public Integrity
Last December, the California Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal filed by a couple who had accused financial giant Wells Fargo & Co. of predatory lending. One justice, who owned stock in the bank, recused himself from the case. But Justice Kathryn Werdegar, who owned as much as $1 million of Wells Fargo stock, participated — and shouldn’t have.

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Leisure parks chain looks to buy Miami Seaquarium, South Florida’s iconic attraction


By John Dorschner
The owner of South Florida’s iconic tourist attraction, the Miami Seaquarium, has had “discussions” about selling to a California-based subsidiary of a Spanish parks operator, but said no final deal has been struck.

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The ‘lobbyist’ is dead; Long live the ‘government relations professional’


By Dave Levinthal
Center for Public Integrity
The lobbyist, like Philip Morris, ValuJet and the World Wrestling Federation before him, died today.
He was 150 years old, give or take a decade, the victim of relentless pejorativation and transmogrification. Naysayers who believed he too often abused the right to petition his government for a redress of grievances hastened his demise.

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Two senators short-circuit Legislature’s plan to audit troubled Hallandale Beach CRA

State Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood and State Sen. Oscar Braynon II, D-Miami Gardens

By William Gjebre
A Florida Legislature’s joint auditing committee is dropping its inquiry of Hallandale Beach’s questionable use of local redevelopment funds at the urging of two area state senators, one a long-time acquaintance of Mayor Joy Cooper.

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Push against offshore secrecy an uphill battle

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom talk in the Oval Office before their meeting in March 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

By Michael Hudson
Center for Public Integrity
Offshore tax havens are under attack again in the wake of scandal. Britain has vowed to lift secrecy covering the Cayman Islands and other financial sanctuaries under its flag. France’s president has promised to “eradicate” tax havens. Will this time be different?

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Star of Oscar-winning film about dolphin hunting cast in long-running Broward civil action

Ric O'Barry

By William Hladky
Six years after it began, a sprawling civil action targeting the Miami-based star of an Academy Award-winning documentary about dolphin hunting in Japan drags on in Broward Circuit Court with no end in sight.

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Koch-backed nonprofit spent record cash in 2012

Billionaire David Koch speaks at a 2013 Americans for Prosperity Foundation event.

By Michael Beckel
Center for Public Integrity
Americans for Prosperity — the main political arm of billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch — spent a staggering $122 million last year as it unsuccessfully attempted to defeat President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats, according to a Center for Public Integrity review of documents.

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A Miami police informant, a prophetic racist and fresh questions about JFK’s death

President Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963

By Dan Christensen
At 94, former Miami Beach mayor and still active Miami-Dade Senior Judge Seymour Gelber is among the few who remember Miami police informant No. 88, Willie Augustus Somersett. Somersett has been dead 43 years. But in the half-century of assassination lore that’s grown up around the murder of President John F. Kennedy, Somersett has attained a kind of immortality as the man who heard about it first.

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