Uber-real estate developer and all-’round power broker Armando Codina once threatened to punch the aggressive and highly decorated investigative reporter Dan Christensen in the face. Today, Codina is among a growing number of donors to Florida Bulldog, the investigative reporting website Christensen founded in 2009, when he became one of the casualties of one of the Miami Herald’s newsroom purges.
Movers and shakers like Codina may not always like the impertinent questions posed by reporters like Christensen, but they understand that democracy cannot survive without a free and independent pack of watchdogs who aren’t afraid to pee on the Gucci loafers of the powerful.
Bulldog celebrates its seventh anniversary Tuesday at YOLO, a popular watering hole on Las Olas Boulevard. There’s a lot to celebrate, at least for people who aren’t reading about themselves on Bulldog’s increasingly well-trafficked website.
Crime reporter turned crime novelist Michael Connelly was the earliest and most generous Bulldog supporter on an honor roll that now includes, along with Codina, William Scherer, a founding partner of the powerhouse law firm Conrad & Scherer; Wometco Enterprises Chairman Arthur Hertz; Ed Williamson, chairman and CEO of Williamson Automotive; Miami Herald alum Dexter Filkins, a Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent and staff writer for The New Yorker; and former Sen. and Mrs. Bob Graham.
Bulldog was the first, and for years, the only news outlet willing to lend credence and column inches to Graham’s concerns about the role of the government of Saudi Arabia in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Media lawyer Tom Julin, a partner at the Gunster law firm, has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of time to Freedom of Information Act litigation on behalf of Bulldog as it digs for truth in the face of federal stonewalling and sandbagging.
The Bulldog party begins at 6 p.m. and goes on until 9, or until people in #TheProcess run out of stories to leak to reporters in the room, whichever is later. The event is free, and so is the first drink. YOLO is located at 333 East Las Olas Blvd.
Disclosure: Florence Beth Snyder is a member of Florida Bulldog’s Board of Directors.