Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday August 14th 2018

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Outtakes 2/3/11

DON’T DRINK THE WATER, PART 2 There is something about the month of January that attracts weird news stories. A year ago, I got in trouble with the Emerald Coast Utility Authority for joking that the cause for the bizarre stories must have something to do with what’s in our water.

In January 2010 the Escambia County Commission was caught up in explaining why it wanted to rebid a drainage project. The Arts Council of Northwest Florida was being investigated by the State Attorney’s Office after an audit revealed county funds weren’t being properly distributed to arts groups, and Superintendent Malcolm Thomas cut off negotiations with Friendship Missionary Baptist Church for the dilapidated Brownsville Middle School.

This year, ECUA’s drinking water is still under criticism, topping the website 24/7 Wall St.’s list of “Top 10 American Cities with the Worst Drinking Water.” The list was compiled using data collected by Environmental Working Group, based in Washington, D.C., which lambasted last year the ECUA water supply, so it’s no surprise the utility is still being criticized.

The January 2011 news stories include the collapse of AES HR Solutions, the battle over DeLuna Fest’s dates, the firing of Maritime Park Development Partners and the misrepresentations by Aquarium for Pensacola, which, I think, beat last year’s list.

AES HR Solutions handled the payroll for several local businesses. Its owner, Donald Moore, is a business partner with Commissioner Wilson Robertson and has been a big contributor to political campaigns over the years. He wined and dined government officials at his hunting camp in Santa Rosa County. In January, AES abruptly shut down when its payroll checks started to bounce. The worthless checks triggered both Escambia County Sheriff and State Attorney investigations.

While that was hitting the papers, Community Maritime Park Associates attorney Ed Fleming was presenting his case for terminating all contracts with the maritime park’s master developer, Maritime Park Development Partners. Fleming argued that Land Capital Group and later MPDP “fraudulently induced” the master development contract. The CMPA Board of Trustees voted unanimously to get rid of MPDP. The next stop will be the court system.

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