In September 2006, with real estate prices in free fall and panic seizing much of the state’s economy, Bush and state officials were debating the merits of a proposed $50 million purchase of forest and wetlands near Orlando, Florida, to protect it from possible future development. The land under consideration was called “Joshua Creek.” It was owned by a developer called Land South Hunters, which was itself an affiliate of Land South Holdings, a company that enjoyed the labors of a well-connected lobbyist in Tallahassee — Rancourt of the Southern Strategy Group.
Bush voiced concerns that the state was paying far too much at a time in which Florida real estate values were plummeting. “I get emotional when a guy a year ago bought something for $32 million and wants to sell it to us for $50 [million],” said Bush, according to minutes from the meeting. “The worm has turned on real estate prices. Every article in the paper, every paper is writing about it. And I just do not believe that we should necessarily be the purchaser that always shows up with the big number.”
After hearing from Bush, state officials opted to defer voting on land acquisition for two weeks. Rancourt then emailed Bush after the meeting seeking to get together to discuss the land deal.
“My purpose is not to make the case for any specific agreement but merely to ascertain if additional information would make it worthwhile to continue discussions on this piece of property,” Rancourt said. “I am happy to arrive alone or to have my client from Lakeland with me at the meeting if that would be beneficial. That is your call of course, as well as if you are interested in sitting down at all. I would appreciate the opportunity but will understand if you have made your decision.”
Bush responded later that night. “Thank you David. If we can schedule something, I am happy to meet,” he wrote. Bush said his aide would meet with Rancourt otherwise, and blind-copied two members of his staff on the email. Two weeks later, Bush and top state officials discussed the project again, with Land South Hunters’ owner and lawyer present.
“If we purchase this, you’re going to make a great profit without any development risk,” Bush told the lawyer, according to minutes of the meeting. “We’re buying it from you, and we don’t factor that into our appraisal. I think that’s just wrong.”
Those concerns notwithstanding, Bush and his cabinet voted to approve the terms of the deal. Not for the first time, Southern Strategy Group had appeared to deliver for its client.
– From IBT’s excellent article: As Florida Governor, Jeb Bush Provided Special Access to Lobbyists
The most disturbing part of the Clinton vs. Bush Presidential spectacle being shoved down the throats of the American public, is that you couldn’t find two more discredited, disingenuous, corruptible, self-interested political family dynasties if you tried. Naturally, this is exactly why the only people with political clout in the U.S., billionaire oligarchs and corporate executives, want these two clowns running against each other. Either way, they win.
While I’ve spent a great deal of time covering the cronyism and greed of Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush is cut from exactly the same cloth. One of the investigative journalists who has uncovered a lot of the dirt on Hillary, David Sirota of International Business Times, is now out with incontrovertible proof of how America would be governed under a third President Bush. How do we know? Well, because we have plenty of evidence of how he handled things for eight years as governor of Florida.
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