Last week, POLITICO Florida reported about a land deal that made the family of Adam Putnam $25 million, one that was facilitated by legislation he helped pass in 1999 as a state lawmaker.
“The exact law created in the Putnam-sponsored bill was cited as justification in July 2005 when the water management district passed a resolution that signed off on the deal that paid Putnam Groves $25 million for land assessed at $19 million,” reported Matt Dixon. “Putnam was in Congress at the time, and told the Palm Beach Post in 2012 he had nothing to do with the negotiations.”
In 2012, there were citizen complaints about this Putnam family land deal from 2006, including one from a Tea Party activist. And one of them made it to Pam Bondi‘s senior staff.
Jack Nelson, chair of the Highlands County Tea Party, sought an investigation from Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Bondi, according to the Highlands Today
“This is an outrage, really,’ Nelson told the newspaper. “This is taking the taxpayer for a ride. And they’re saying, ‘Guess what, fella, we got away with it.’ To me, Adam Putnam is ripping off the state of Florida, and he ought to be thrown out of office. And they’re saying this guy is the future of Florida politics?’”
Nelson emailed a complaint to Bondi’s office. Her chief of staff at the time was made aware of it.
According to emails requested under Florida’s public records laws, Jason Rodriguez forwarded Nelson’s complaint to Catherine Crutcher on Jun. 15 2012 and wrote, “Please share with Carlos.”
Carlos, in this case, is Carlos Muniz. Muniz would eventually become Bondi’s chief of staff in 2013.
The email was sent to Gov. Scott as well, though we as of yet have no idea how far up the chain that went.
Expect that the Ron DeSantis campaign will use this theme in its messaging this summer.
Democrats have noticed pressure on Putnam from the right, and are watching to see how his campaign counters narrative developments in this land deal case.