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Thank you!

Jul 28 • 356 Views • View Comments

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The following is an open “thank you” letter from polluter James Finch to Charlie Crist:

Dear Charlie,

Thank you so much for letting me take you to that environmental press conference last Friday in Tallahassee. I know the trip from Gainesville to Tallahassee is short and most people would have opted to just drive – especially since your press conference was on “the environment!” ;) But, I really needed to be a part of that skillful messaging … you truly are a great speaker, by the way.

You see, times have been tough since my company, Phoenix Construction, was fined TWICE for violating those pesky Department of Environmental Protection regulations. Those DEP tree-huggers fined me $1.7 million in 2009 for polluting! Can you believe that? Almost $2 million just for some storm water pollution …

Anyhow, being a part of your “environmental press conference” where you committed to protecting the environment will hopefully go a long way to reforming my image. I was a little afraid on Friday when a reporter asked you about my pollution record that you wouldn’t want me involved with transporting you and your campaign anymore (not to mention that whole NASCAR debacle, LOL). But, Charlie, you are a true friend. And, it was a privilege for me to fly you again yesterday as well. I do love St. Pete!

Your friend,

James Finch 

PS – I attached some photos from our time together. Let’s make some more memories soon.

PPS – Don’t let those annoying campaign finance limits stop you from using my plane! Those are really more of “suggestions” and no one really looks into your flight records anyhow. 

BACKGROUND INFORMATION FOR PARODY LETTER ABOVE

Miami Herald Last Friday: “Charlie Crist Flies To Enviro Press Conference – On Jet Of Developer Fined For Pollution” “Democrat Charlie Crist flew to an environmental press event [Friday] on the private jet of a developer fined for pollution. Almost as soon Crist stepped off the 2005 Cessna 560XL, Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign had photographed its tail number and traced its ownership to developer James Finch, whose company Phoenix Construction was fined at least twice for violating environmental rules …”  (Marc Caputo, “Charlie Crist Flies To Enviro Press Conference – On Jet Of Developer Fined For Pollution,” The Miami Herald, 7/28/14)

  • Miami Herald’s Marc Caputo: “[M]aybe He Could Have Held The Event In Gainesville, Where The Governor Had Flown From. That’s Less Than A Three Hour Drive From Tallahassee. It Would’ve Saved Fuel. And The Drive Would’ve Spared Crist A Bad Headline He Didn’t Need.” (Marc Caputo, “Charlie Crist Flies To Enviro Press Conference – On Jet Of Developer Fined For Pollution,” The Miami Herald, 7/28/14)

Phoenix Construction, Owned By James Finch Was Fined $1.7 Million By Department Of Environmental Protection For Polluting Waters Near Panama City Airport Construction Site. “The Department of Environmental Protection is fining Phoenix Construction $1.7 million for environmental permit violations at the new airport under construction near West Bay. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) notified the company Friday. The DEP’s judgment follows an investigation over runoff violations from heavy rains this spring that already resulted in airport fines of $250,000 and $200,000 in fees for an outside environmental consultant.” (Pat Kelly, “Phoenix Fined $1.7 Million: Officials Say Issue Will Not Affect Opening Date, Recruitment Of Low-Cost Airline,” Panama City News Herald, 9/19/09)

  • DEP Said Phoenix Construction Was Cutting Corners On Best Management Practices. “The DEP calculated that Phoenix cut corners in what the industry calls ‘Best Management Practices,’ saving itself $964,500, according to a DEP investigation conducted by complaints and enforcement manager Jessica Kleinfelter, who did not return calls for comment Friday.” (Pat Kelly, “Phoenix Fined $1.7 Million: Officials Say Issue Will Not Affect Opening Date, Recruitment Of Low-Cost Airline,” Panama City News Herald, 9/19/09)
  • DEP Said Phoenix Construction Was Disregarding Its Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan. “Phoenix didn’t follow its Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) by covering the soil with a synthetic covering or hydroseeding ‘for at least a period of three months,’ according to Kleinfelter. The average cost of seed and mulch is $1,500 per acre, according to EPA guidelines.” (Pat Kelly, “Phoenix Fined $1.7 Million: Officials Say Issue Will Not Affect Opening Date, Recruitment Of Low-Cost Airline,” Panama City News Herald, 9/19/09) 

Charlie Crist Was “Audibly Annoyed” With Questions About His Ride On Private Plan Owned By James Finch, Who Has Contributed $150,000 To Crist’s Campaign. “Minutes before the meeting began, a staffer from Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign showed up to hand out information about Crist’s ride to the event: a private jet. The plane is owned by Crist donor James Finch, a Panama City developer whose company has faced fines in the past for violating water pollution laws.‘That is not the issue of today,’ said Crist, who was audibly annoyed by the question … Finch has contributed $150,000 to a committee supporting Crist and given the campaign flights on his plane worth $2,268, according to the most recently available campaign finance reports.” (Matt Dixon, “Governor Candidate Charlie Crist Working To Formulate Climate Change Policy,” Naples Daily News, 7/25/14)

Finch Sponsored NASCAR Vehicle For Crist’s Campaign Before It Was Stripped Away By The Team’s Owner. “Charlie Crist is out of the race — at least the Coke Zero 400 … The Republican-turned-Democratic candidate for governor’s name was going to appear on Josh Wise’s No. 98 car, but his decals were removed Friday after the Republican Party of Florida filed a complaint earlier in the week alleging the sponsorship broke campaign finance laws, said car owner Phil Parsons and Mike Curb, the car’s entrant and associate sponsor … James Finch, a Panama City businessman, told The News-Journal Thursday he brokered a roughly $25,000 deal with Parsons to promote Crist during the nationally televised Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway. Curb put the deal’s value at $50,000. Parsons declined to discuss how much the sponsorship cost.” (Skyler Swisher and Chris Graham, “Charlie Crist’s Name Stripped From Race Car,” Daytona Beach News-Journal, 7/4/14)

Matt Moon
Communications Director
Rick Scott for Florida

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