Plaza Health Network cited repeatedly by feds, state for nursing home violations

Plaza Health Network President and CEO Elaine Bloom and Chairman Ronald Lowy Photo: NBC 6

By Francisco Alvarado
Plaza Health Network, the embattled nursing home chain that six months ago agreed to pay $21.5 million to settle federal civil charges that it defrauded Medicare and Medicaid, has habitually violated state and federal healthcare regulations by providing inadequate, and at times negligent, care to residents at its facilities.

New union deal at Miami-Dade Schools to begin push toward $15 hourly minimum wage


By William Gjebre
A tentative agreement between Miami-Dade Public Schools and the union representing its general employees raises the minimum pay for some of district’s lowest paid workers to $10 an hour, marking what a top union official says is the start of a drive to obtain a minimum hourly wage of $15.

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Gov. Scott’s blind trust deviates from U.S. model; Florida law omits federal safeguards

Gov. Rick Scott

By Dan Christensen
When Florida’s Commission on Ethics OK’d Gov. Rick Scott’s blind trust last September it acted after being told by the governor’s lawyers that it was “modeled on the blind trust of the federal Office of Government Ethics.” But the governor’s blind trust – packed with more than $70 million in Scott’s stocks, bonds and other financial assets – deviates substantially from the federal model.

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Citing broad public interest, newspapers ask judge to deny U.S. bid to block 9/11 lawsuit


By Dan Christensen and Anthony Summers
Two Florida newspapers have asked a Fort Lauderdale federal judge to deny the Justice Department’s effort to shut down a Freedom of Information lawsuit seeking records from an FBI investigation into apparent terrorist activity in Sarasota shortly before 9/11.

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Wireless companies fight to control your cell phone as rare frequency auction looms


By Allan Holmes
Center for Public Integrity
The setting was ornate, the subject esoteric, but the implications huge. The crowd that filed last month into the wood-paneled room 226 in the Dirksen Senate Office Building included lawmakers, lobbyists, company executives, and a few mystery guests — a roster that reflected the enormity of the issue at hand: nothing less than control of the growing wireless market and the hundreds of billions of dollars that go with it.

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Gov. Scott chose a familiar face to manage his $72 million blind trust

Gov. Rick Scott, right, and blind trust executive Alan Bazaar

By Dan Christensen
Most Floridians have never heard of Alan Lee Bazaar. Yet as chief executive of the New York investment advisory firm that serves as trustee of Gov. Rick Scott’s blind trust, Bazaar is the keeper of an important public trust for Florida’s citizens.

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A modern day ‘Harvest of Shame’: Today’s blue collar temp laborers face abuses in Florida, elsewhere

A photo from the CBS documentary 'Harvest of Shame, left, and Chicago temp workers on a bus in the early morning hours of Jan. 18, 2013 Photo: CBS News, Sally Ryan for ProPublica

By Michael Grabell
CRANBURY, N.J. – Half a century ago, the legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow came to this pancake-flat town in central New Jersey to document the plight of migrant farmworkers. But today, an old way of labor persists here. Temporary workers who migrate here daily on buses face face similar conditions.

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Gov. Scott quietly rakes in millions from stock sales; Florida’s blind trust law ineffective

Gov. Rick Scott
Photo: Joe Burbank, Orlando Sentinel

By Dan Christensen
Over the last 15 months, Gov. Rick Scott and his wife, Ann, through various entities, made more than $17 million selling hundreds of thousands of shares a single stock. Scott’s blind trust sold shares of that stock worth $2.54 million in December 2012. You aren’t supposed to know that. Gov. Scott isn’t supposed to know it either.

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A loss of faith: Fort Lauderdale church sale angers parishioners, worries neighbors

Fort Lauderdale's Episcopal Church of the Intercession

By Ann Henson Feltgen
For 60 years, the Episcopal Church of the Intercession has provided religious guidance and ministered to the needs of its congregation. Now, plans by the cash-strapped Episcopal diocese to sell the church and its peaceful, four-acre parcel in Fort Lauderdale’s South Middle River neighborhood, is roiling both church members and neighbors.

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Outside groups dwarf candidate spending in Florida special election

Democrat Alex Sink, left, and Republican David Jolly

By Michael Beckel
Center for Public Integrity
The campaign money machines of Democrat Alex Sink and Republican David Jolly have not just been matched by outside forces, they’ve been lapped. Roughly $12.5 million has flooded the heated special election in Pinellas County, but less than one-third of that sum was controlled by the candidates’ own campaigns.

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Hollywood planning board members quit after conflict of interest warning from city attorney

Hollywood City Attorney Jeffrey Sheffel

By William Gjebre
Two Hollywood Planning and Development Review Board members have resigned after being warned by the city attorney of potential conflicts if they continued to serve while doing work for projects needing board approval.

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