Thursday, March 27, 2008

Vandenberg Sinking is a Sinkhole for Public Funds

I offer a single fact in the support of this statement:

One year ago, the price tag to sink the Vandenberg was $5.7 Million (Source: SportFishing Magazine: That's Five Point Seven Million Dollars. Today, the organization who wants to sink it says they're $2.3 Million short.


That's a 40% cost overrun. Are the same people managing this as are managing the Key West International Airport construction or the Freeman Justice Center? Imagine what would happen to YOU if YOUR cost of living went up 40% in one year!

So, let's take a look at where the money was coming from originally...

The City of Key West contributed $2 Million,
Monroe County contributed $2 Million,
Monroe County's Tourist Development Council offered $1 Million,
And the remainder of the population of the planet contributed $0.7 Million.

So, the 70,000 residents of Monroe County were coughing up an average of $70 dollars apiece for every man, woman and child, while the remainder of the scuba diving community IN THE WORLD - millions of people - could not fork over any more $700k.

Whoo-hoo! Yeah, that's a hot potential dive destination.

Something stinks here.

I'd like to see a full accounting of these funds - from Artificial Reefs of the Keys (a 501(c)(3) organization) and exactly where their money is going. I suspect that MOST of it is going to a company called Reefmakers, Inc., which is a FOR PROFIT corporation. They ARE NOT a Florida Corporation. Who owns them? Who governs what they charge? Who are THEY paying?
Who works for them full time? How much are they getting paid? Who has received "consulting fees" or honorariums? Tips?

They've certainly been given a big pile of taxpayers' money.

It is time for public disclosure as to EXACTLY where these funds went in the form of an INDEPENDENT AUDIT of ARK and Reefmakers, Inc.

Why wasn't a requirement for audit attached to the money that they were given by the Monroe County and Key West City Commissions?

Write your commissioners, the Mayor and the Governor and tell them to submit these two organizations to an independent audit by a reputable public accounting firm (or the Florida Attorney General) before another dollar of taxpayer money anywhere in the State of Florida sinks down this hole.

But remember the names of the Commissioners who voted to approve this project come election time.