Florida Phoenix by Diane Roberts
August 6, 2018
In Martin County, all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. You may express your opinion–about a dodgy water deal, say, or damage to certain wetlands–but if you challenge the wrong billionaire, if you urge your elected representatives to take action thwarting the plans of said billionaire, you may find yourself hauled into court, financially imperiled, and told that your free speech rights are not what you thought they were, Constitution be damned.
Maggy Hurchalla, longtime warrior for Florida’s environment, daughter of legendary MiamiNews reporter Jane Wood Reno, and sister of Janet Reno, the first woman to serve as Attorney General of the United States, has been ordered by a court in Martin County to pay the very, very rich George Lindemann Jr. $4.4 million.
Here’s the upshot: in 2008, Lindemann cut a deal with the South Florida Water Management District and the Martin County Commission to mine some of the 2200 acres owned by his company Lake Point, digging up rocks to use in construction and using the resulting pits to store dirty water. The plan was to someday donate land to the county for stormwater treatment. Lindemann sees himself as a Good Guy, though in his rich-brat youth (aged 31), he did prison time. Supposedly a serious contender for the US Equestrian Olympic Team, in 1990, he paid a horse hit man to electrocute his thoroughbred Charisma: he wanted to collect the $250,000 insurance. Lindemann would rather not talk about that. He’d rather you know that he’s given more than $10,000 to Audubon and chairs the board of trustees at the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach. Can’t blame him there: nobody likes a horse-murderer.