Last Call for 8.23.17 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

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Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

The Florida House has thrown down the gauntlet in a dispute between owners of a Tallahassee office complex and several state agencies who bolted on the master lease.

The House, listed as anintervenor-defendant,” has filed a demand for a jury trial in the action, lodged by Northwood Associates, owners of Tallahassee’s Northwood Centre. It had been home to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and others.

Critics called the complex a “biological hot zone” after inspectors found 10 pounds of bat feces in the ceiling above the desk of then-DBPR Secretary Ken Lawson. Mold and more animal droppings were also discovered.

Gov. Rick Scott approved stopping rent payments in the 2016-17 state budget, and the state relocated some 1,500 workers. Northwood Associates filed suit. The company has denied the allegations, saying it “performed air quality testing” and contracted with “two expert consulting firms to address all issues.”

The House now wants a jury to decide if there was a “constructive eviction,” meaning that a landlord did or failed to do something, making a property “unsafe, unfit, and unsuitable for occupancy,” House general counsel Adam Tanenbaum wrote.

The court allowed the House into the case to defend the budget proviso language nixing the lease payments. But Northwood Associates’ attorney Mike Huey said another question of whether the proviso language was constitutional is a legal question for a judge, not a jury.

“We’ll wait and see how it plays out,” said Huey, with the GrayRobinson law firm’s Tallahassee office. “It’ll be an interesting case to be tried.”

 Evening Reads

Under Donald Trump budget, Florida water could get a lot dirtier” via Jenny Staletovich of the Miami Herald

EPA taps Alabama business lobbyist to lead Florida, Southeast region” via The Associated Press

Marco Rubio laments congressional failures, says white supremacists ‘threat’ to GOP” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida

Richard Corcoran: Let voters end taxpayer-financed election campaigns” via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times

GOP lawmaker’s feud with Richard Corcoran gets her trip to Siberia” via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times

Proposal calls for slavery memorial at Capitol” via the News Service of Florida

Netflix loves to pick hits for each subscriber – but how?” via Frazier Moore of The Associated Press

Quote of the Day

“Simply put: politicians benefit, voters do not. Pollsters, media buyers, mail houses, and campaign consultants benefit while the people of Florida are left holding the bill.” —House Speaker Richard Corcoran, writing to the Constitution Revision Commission on his request that it repeal the constitutional provision allowing for public financing of campaigns for statewide office.

Bill Day’s Latest

Breakthrough Insights 

Wake Up Early?

The Visit Florida Audit Committee will hold a 9:30 a.m. conference call to present and review the Audited Financial Statements as of June 30. The toll-free dial-in Number is (888) 354-0094; key in participant code 175701.

State CFO Jimmy Patronis is the scheduled speaker at the Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida. They meet at noon at the Citrus Club, 255 South Orange Ave., 18th floor, Orlando.

Democratic congresswoman Kathy Castor will join Tampa Bay startups on the region’s state of entrepreneurship, she announced in a press release. “Tampa Bay WaVe is hosting Castor and other startup experts on a discussion about the state of entrepreneurship and the impact of federal issues, such as tax reform, net neutrality (and) immigration.” That’s at 10 a.m. at Tampa Bay WaVe, 500 E. Kennedy Blvd., #300, Tampa.

Sen. Aaron Bean, a Fernandina Beach Republican, will discuss the 2017 Legislative Session at a meeting of the Joseph E. Lee Republican Club. That’s at 6 p.m. at The Salem Centre, 7235 Bonneval Road, Jacksonville.

GOP Congressman Ron DeSantis is expected to discuss tax reform during an Americans for Prosperity-Florida event at 6:30 p.m. It’ll be at the Sheraton Miami Airport, 3900 N.W. 21st St., Miami.

Finally, Ed Hooper, who’s running for Senate District 16, holds a “Scotch & Cigars” fundraiser at 5 p.m. with live music, at Ally Restore + Construct, 150 Dunbar Ave., Oldsmar. Send your RSVP to [email protected].

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

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Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

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