Rep. Alcee Hastings and 10 other House members implicated in alleged bribery scheme


By Dan Christensen
Congressional ethics investigators will review allegations that South Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings and 10 other House members took bribes by accepting campaign contributions from the payday lending industry shortly before or after taking official actions in support of the industry.

Pipeline company to judge: Evidence of Gov. Scott’s investment in us ‘irrelevant’

Gov. Rick Scott

By Dan Christensen
Lawyers for a company that wants to build a natural gas pipeline in north Florida have told a judge that environmental opponents should be blocked from “presenting evidence or argument” about Gov. Rick Scott’s financial interest in the company.

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Aviation deal fallout: Broward commissioners want back some power over who gets contracts

From left to right, Broward Mayor Kristin Jacobs and Commissioners Stacy Ritter and Lois Wexler

By William Hladky
Broward County Commission unhappiness with the Aviation Department’s concession bidding procedures has led to calls for breaking down the wall between commissioners and staff selection committees that recommend which companies get government contracts.

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ATI career school company implodes amid fraud claims; $3.7 million whistleblower settlement

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By Dan Christensen
A for-profit career school operator with once-bustling campuses in Broward and Miami-Dade counties agreed this month to pay $3.7 million to the government to settle whistleblower fraud claims.

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Controversial “Wizard of Claws” dog seller back in business; target of federal lawsuit

James Anderson’s Teacup Puppies Store at 4001 N Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale

By William Hladky
“Wizard of Claws” dog seller James Anderson, who shut his business four years ago amid numerous allegations of wrongdoing and a lawsuit by Florida Attorney General’s Office, is back in business in Fort Lauderdale under a new name and again is involved in legal controversy.

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Are civilian nuclear plants vulnerable to terror attacks?

Cooling tower at MIT's Nuclear Reactor Lab, in October 2009. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

By Rebecca LaFlure
Center for Public Integrity
Nuclear reactors are located 26 miles from the White House, in downtown Boston and in the Midwest near a 71,000-seat college football stadium. Yet more than a decade after the Sept. 11 attacks, these facilities “are particularly vulnerable to sabotage attack,” say the authors of a new Pentagon-funded study.

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State records about Broward Sheriff altered; Israel to amend his financial disclosure

Scott Israel at his swearing in ceremony in January Photo: CBS4

By Dan Christensen
Online state records that listed Broward Sheriff Scott Israel as a “principal” in a Weston private investigations firm, Talon/G6 Services, were altered last week to delete the sheriff’s name. This week, the sheriff’s lawyer announced that Israel would amend his financial disclosure form after it was disclosed that the sheriff had underreported how much money he was paid last year by a Fort Lauderdale private security company.

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Fresh questions about use of public money for Deutsch’s Ben Gamla charter schools


By William Gjebre
A Broward civic activist has urged the School Board to re-examine whether the publicly funded Ben Gamla charter schools are violating the Constitutional separation of church and state mandate. In response, a top district official has asked for a review of the matter.

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Push to extend ‘Doc’ Sistrunk’s name and legacy raises tensions in Fort Lauderdale

Dr. James F. "Doc" Sistrunk

By William Hladky
To honor James “Doc” Sistrunk’s legacy, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission may have to defy Flagler Village Civic Association opposition to extend the boulevard named for the black physician.

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FBI resists thorough search of vast 9/11 files in Tampa for records about Sarasota Saudis

Times Square on Sept. 11, 2001

By Dan Christensen and Anthony Summers
A mass of documents detailing the Tampa area connection to the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, many of which may have never been made public, are stored out of sight in the FBI’s Tampa field office.

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Protest by tobacco state politicians, business groups may snuff out Obama trade move


By Myron Levin
Fair Warning
Facing vehement protest from tobacco state lawmakers and business groups, the Obama administration appears to have retreated from efforts to keep cigarette makers from using trade treaties to attack countries that adopt strong anti-smoking rules.

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