Developer’s trail of fraud lawsuits backdrop claim of illegal campaign contributions

Miami World Center site.

By Francisco Alvarado
Arthur Falcone, a Boca Raton-based developer behind a downtown Miami project at the center of illegal campaign contribution allegations, has blazed a trail of lawsuits accusing him of swindling business associates and creditors out of tens of millions of dollars during the height of the real estate market crash.

Broward Health begins lobbyist registration – 12 years and millions in contracts late

Broward Health's corporate headquarters in Fort Lauderdale

By Dan Christensen
Broward Health’s long-lost lobbyist registration policy is, at last, resurrected. Lobbyists looking to influence district policy or the award of profitable contracts must now publicly identify themselves and their clients.

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Broward prosecutors vilify BSO detective who alleged misconduct; ‘Bloody…not improper’


By Dan Christensen
A Broward Sheriff’s homicide detective who reported that Fort Lauderdale police unleashed a dog on a murder suspect who was in custody and no longer a threat should not be believed, according to a memo by local prosecutors closing the case.

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How many railroad crossings will close for new downtown passenger train service?


By Ann Henson-Feltgen
New downtown passenger train service that will speed users from Orlando to South Florida and back may sound like a tourism dream come true, but there’s a potentially unexpected cost to local residents.

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A conservative judge rebukes FBI as he orders it to find and turn over 9/11 documents

U.S. District Judge William J. Zloch

By Dan Christensen and Anthony Summers
Fort Lauderdale U.S. District Judge William J. Zloch has a reputation as a no-nonsense, conservative judge who can be short on patience, but is long on courtroom preparation and does not recoil from speaking his mind. On Friday, after months of legal wrangling, Zloch spoke his mind for the first time on the FBI’s handling of a Freedom of Information lawsuit about 9/11.

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Skeptical U.S. judge gives FBI two weeks to conduct better search of 9/11 records


By Dan Christensen and Anthony Summers
UPDATE 4/4/14 — Troubled by “inconsistencies” and the government’s sometimes “nonsensical” legal arguments, a federal judge on Friday ordered the FBI to conduct a detailed search of its records for information about apparent terrorist activity in Sarasota prior to 9/11.

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What the proposed NSA reforms wouldn’t do; big differences among plans

Edward Snowden
Photo: The Guardian/Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras

By Kara Brandeisky
Ten months after Edward Snowden’s first disclosures, three main legislative proposals have emerged for surveillance reform: one from President Obama, one from the House Intelligence Committee, and one proposal favored by civil libertarians. All the plans purport to end the bulk phone records collection program, but there are big differences – and a lot they don’t do. Here’s a rundown.

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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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Inside the Koch brothers’ campus crusade; Billionaire industrialists investing in students

David, left, and Charles Koch

By Dave Levinthal
Center for Public Integrity
Billionaire industrialists David and Charles Koch may rank among the nation’s biggest bankrollers of conservative causes and Republican campaign vehicles. But Koch proselytizing of government deregulation and pro-business civics is increasingly targeted not just at creatures of Capitol Hill, or couch sitters in swing states, but at the hearts and minds of American college students, as well.

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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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