ALL ABOARD FLORIDA OPPONENTS TAKE AIM AT TEXT MESSAGES ABOUT BOND MEETING

Publish Date: 
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - 11:30am

An attorney fighting the All Aboard Florida project is taking aim at a series of text messages between a representative of the rail company and the chairman of the state board that will decide whether the project receives $1.75 billion in tax exempt bonds.

The text messages show a series of conversations between Florida Development Finance Corp. Chairman Frank White and All Aboard Florida consultant Matt Mohler. Steve Ryan, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney who is representing Martin County in its battle to block All Aboard Florida’s express passenger trains, obtained the text messages through a public records request.

“This has got to be an enormous concern,” Ryan said of the messages. “All Aboard Florida appears to be talking to the decision makers of the FDFC. They seem to be very close to one another.”

Through the string of text messages, which span from April to July, Mohler attempts to set up a meeting between White and All Aboard Florida officials.

Ryan said he is concerned that the meeting was not part of the public record.

“What we have seen appears to be the tip of an iceberg,” Ryan said. “We don’t know how big the iceberg is below the waterline.”

In Palm Beach County, it is not uncommon for developers and lobbyists to seek meetings with government leaders before they vote or hold meetings on a particular project. Those meetings are typically disclosed during the public hearing on the project.