Florida’s medical marijuana measure, which was narrowly defeated in 2014, will be back on the ballot in 2016. Attorney John Morgan, who backed the original initiative to the tune of $4 million, has submitted paperwork to the Florida Secretary of State’s office to have his proposed amendment placed on the ballot again.
Palm Beach County
The nation’s largest office supply retailer, Staples, is buying its smaller rival, Boca Raton-based Office Depot for $6.3 billion. Staples CEO Ron Sargent has said the company’s headquarters will remain in Framingham, Mass. The sale must be approved by regulators, but it likely means layoffs for workers at Office Depot’s headquarters and an end to the Office Depot brand, which was started with a single store in Lauderdale Lakes.
Boynton Beach officials are considering allowing more drug addiction rehab facilities in their city. At present, the city only allows them to operate out of hospitals and there is pressure to ease those regulations to meet certain federal standards. This comes as other municipalities are passing ordinances that essentially are forcing such homes located in residential neighborhoods to shut down.
SUN LIFE LAWSUIT
Sun Life, the Canadian insurance company best known for its naming rights at the Miami Dolphins stadium, sued Boca Raton-based insurance brokerage firm Imperial Holdings. Sun Life accused the company “of civil racketeering, fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud” based on the company’s selling 29 policies that paid out more than a $130 million in benefits. The complaint alleged that Imperial Holdings used a network of companies to sell Sun Life policies and would then buy those policies at a percentage of their benefit values. A federal judge has now dismissed Sun Life’s lawsuit.
Appointed Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Robert McKinzie has now been elected to the District 3 seat with a win over Donna Guthrie, president of the Melrose Park Civic Association and resident Didier Ortiz. Guthrie’s past, where she was accused of allegedly stalking a former acquaintance, breaking into the woman’s home and threatening her if she did not leave her husband, never became an issue during the campaign. The accusations could be front and center if Guthrie is nominated to serve on any city advisory boards.
An area long known as the ‘Negro Cemetery’ in Deerfield Beach is slated to be developed. Areas residents are upset over the issue and are now seeking state intervention. Relatives of those reportedly buried at site provided statements; lawsuits will likely settle the issue. The site in question once housed a church and it was commonplace for churches to have on-site graveyards.
Peter Luukko has been hired as executive chairman of Sunrise Sports and Entertainment, the company that owns the Florida Panthers. CEO Rory Babich has been making moves and it looks as if the team is making a push to return to prominence. Luukko, 55, is veteran hockey executive. He served as president of the Philadelphia Flyers and is respected as a sports executive.
Citrix Systems CEO Mark Templeton announced the software company was restructuring and there would be more than 900 jobs cut worldwide. The company employs 1,900 at its Fort Lauderdale headquarters and 200 employees have now received pink slips.
The days of real estate broker Christopher Wayne White of Fort Lauderdale scamming his customers are over. White, 44, pleaded guilty to stealing $595,000 in escrow deposits from clients and filing fraudulent documents to obtain a $4.9 million mortgage on his luxury home, which was foreclosed last year. He was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison and still faces sentencing for other fraud related charges.
Elton Bandoo, 26, is charged in the shooting of North Miami Beach Police Officer Lino Diaz, who was part of a team that was attempting to serve a federal search warrant related to alleged unemployment fraud. A judge denied bail and he will remain locked up until his case is resolved. He is facing attempted murder of a police officer and other charges.
The family of golfing legend Jack Nicklaus pledged a $60 million donation to Miami Children’s Hospital. To show its appreciation and gratitude, the medical facility has now been renamed Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
Ram A. Schratter, a 57-year-old Miami-Dade County supervisor is accused of stealing more than $200,000 in county funds and equipment. Among his responsibilities was the oversight of security systems at various county facilities. Schratter, who pleaded guilty to the charges, will serve six months in jail. He will also face fines and penalties, and will lose his pension he earned over two decades while working for the county.
Monroe County sheriff’s deputy Jon Doughtry, 23, is charged with driving under the influence. The Florida Highway Patrol arrested Doughtry after he was involved in an accident. He is suspended without pay from his job where he was assigned to the Key West Courthouse.
Robert Schminky, 57, of Key Largo, is accused of brutally beating wife with the butt of a shotgun. She suffered numerous injuries including broken ribs, wrist and arm. He then fled in his car when deputies arrived and fired shots at them during the chase.