Oct 142016

by John Prosser……. In the last few weeks, I have read several newspaper articles that included quotes, and heard a radio interview with FKAA’s Executive Director that were fraught with misinformation. FKAA appears to be intentionally misleading public opinion concerning the recent lawsuit against coerced placement of sewage pump stations on private property. Zuelch claimed that the DOAH already heard a similar complaint: “we have been here before.” He claimed the grinders were judged fine. That is untrue. The Dump the Pumps complaint protested construction permits [continue reading…]

 October 14, 2016  Posted by at 12:52 am Issue #188, Letter to the Editor 4 Responses »
Jul 292016
CONFLICT OF INTEREST: FKAA $3 Million Contract for Toppino

by Margaret Blank……. Posted this week on www.bigpinekey.com: The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) board is getting ready to award a $3 million contract to one of their own, Richard Toppino. Toppino is a FKAA board member with a high potential for conflicts of interest. His family business, Charley Toppino & Sons, has done millions of dollars worth of business with the FKAA over the years – a fact that the FKAA has repeatedly tried to hide. Toppino was appointed to the FKAA board in December 2015. [continue reading…]

 July 29, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #177 7 Responses »
Jun 242016
We Have Met the Enemy And He Is Us

Dear Editor, How did the sanitary sewer project go so wrong? It all goes back to the one cent sales tax extension that was used to pay for the sewer system. This is an unconventional way to finance a local sewer system, but it eliminated the need for an environmental assessment plan that would have been carefully reviewed by the Corps of Engineers. There was widespread public support for the sales tax extension. It looked like the ballot would easily pass, since it was sold [continue reading…]

 June 24, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #172, Letter to the Editor 2 Responses »
Jun 102016
Big Coppitt – More Missing Documents?

by Margaret Blank……. Update: The FKAA responded right quick this time. I sent an email Sunday, got a response on Monday. This is new and different. Here’s a link to the agenda back up for the approval of award to Gianetti. A couple of things prompted me to take a look back at the Big Coppitt project. The Big Coppitt wastewater treatment facility experienced difficulties meeting effluent quality requirements for about a year. I discovered this completely by accident. It’s never been reported in the [continue reading…]

 June 10, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am Island Voices, Issue #170 4 Responses »
Jun 102016
Gentle Rebuttal

Dear Editor, A recent press release from FKAA and the County very unjustly and incorrectly attacks two homeowners for filing a lawsuit May 9 that seeks to get those two mega-powers to follow their own rules. The lawsuit simply requests the Court to confirm that the law specifically requires that a gravity connection for people’s sewers be placed in the right of way, not in the yard. So why all the hostility and chest thumping by FKAA and the County? It’s their own rules these [continue reading…]

 June 10, 2016  Posted by at 12:48 am Issue #170, Letter to the Editor 6 Responses »
May 062016
Commissioner Murphy Addresses Senate Committees Regarding Cooling Canals at Turkey Point

MONROE COUNTY COMMISSIONER SYLVIA MURPHY TELLS SENATE COMMITTEES FPL NEEDS TO CLEAN UP HYPERSALINE PLUMES CAUSED BY NUCLEAR POWER PLANT HOMESTEAD – The state’s Senate Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee and the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee held a joint workshop April 29 in Homestead to learn more about hypersaline water – created by Florida Power & Light’s Turkey Point nuclear plant – that has moved outside the utility’s cooling canal system and is threatening Biscayne National Park and the Biscayne aquifer. For [continue reading…]

 May 6, 2016  Posted by at 1:00 am Issue #165, News, Public Notice No Responses »
Apr 222016
The Best Thing the Governor Can Do For the Keys

by Margaret Blank……. Good news! Gov. Scott signs Florida Keys Stewardship Act into Law The Florida Keys Stewardship Act is now officially law. It’s a blessing but a mixed one. As always, it is subject to interference and manipulation by the usual suspects. The Keys didn’t get everything they asked for but that’s not necessarily a bad thing – the situation being what it is. As beneficial as the Florida Keys Stewardship Act may be, there is one thing the Governor could do that would have [continue reading…]

 April 22, 2016  Posted by at 12:42 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #163 2 Responses »
Mar 252016
Taxing the Citizens for Nothing

Dear Editor, I contacted the sewer adviser at FKAA and asked about my new impending utility bill. How is the Sewage portion of my bill calculated? He answered Everything that goes through the water meter is billed as Sewage. I asked what about the 7000 gallons used to top off my pool-Sewage. What about the water I use to irrigate my fruit crops-Sewage. What about the water I use to water my grass-Sewage. How can this be?? Why is FKAA taxing me for something that [continue reading…]

 March 25, 2016  Posted by at 12:56 am Issue #159, Letter to the Editor 3 Responses »
Jan 222016
Guest Column: The $9.5 Million Toppino Contracts FKAA Lied About

by Margaret Blank……. Getting information from the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) is like pulling teeth sometimes. Good thing I don’t mind pulling teeth. A while back, I asked the FKAA to provide a list of subcontractors on all it’s current projects. It is standard practice to require a contractor to provide a list of subcontractors. I got back this response saying that their contract documents include no such requirement. That is so bizarre, I felt compelled to dig deeper. I read through the contract documents [continue reading…]

 January 22, 2016  Posted by at 1:08 am * Featured Story *, Editorial, Issue #150 15 Responses »
Dec 112015
Guest Column: Richard Toppino for FKAA Board, "An Interesting Choice"

by Margaret Blank……. Richard Toppino of Charley Toppino & Sons has recently been appointed to the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) board. He will replace Melva Wagner who resigned in September after it became publicly known that she no longer lived in the Keys and was attending meetings by phone. Mr. Toppino was chosen from among eleven applicants for the position. It was a very interesting choice for two reasons: On his application Mr. Toppino names himself as an officer for Charley Toppino & Sons, a [continue reading…]

 December 11, 2015  Posted by at 1:16 am * Featured Story *, Island Voices, Issue #144 11 Responses »
Oct 302015
Just Say No!

Dear Editor, Regarding FKAA’s most recent threats to folks who do not connect to the sewer system within 30 days of a notice to connect or who refuse FKAA demands to “grant” an easement: Just say no. No easement ever, hook up in about a year. We’ve checked with local legal counsel who say that despite FKAA’s written and verbal threats, FKAA has no legal authority to require the easements or to penalize people who refuse to grant them. Counsel gave the following opinions: 1. [continue reading…]

 October 30, 2015  Posted by at 12:17 am Issue #138, Letter to the Editor 4 Responses »
Oct 232015
POAs Settle with FKAA and County Over CRWS Shallow Wells

The legal challenge brought by Cudjoe Gardens and Sugarloaf Shores property owners associations over the use of shallow injection wells at the Cudjoe Regional Wastewater System treatment plant resulted in a guarantee for the expeditious completion of a deep injection well, a generator dedicated to that well, monthly water quality monitoring, and restricted flow as shallow wells are utilized during deep well construction. Approval of the settlement today by county commissioners averted an Oct. 26 hearing before a state administrative judge. “We were pleased when [continue reading…]

 October 23, 2015  Posted by at 12:26 am Issue #137, Public Notice No Responses »
Oct 162015
State Attorney Will Take No Further Action in the Bob Dean Case

STATE ATTORNEY SPOKESMAN: “WE STILL THINK IT’S OBVIOUS THAT ROBERT DEAN LIVES IN KEY HAVEN.” BUT, BY LAW, THAT OPINION IS TRUMPED BY THE CANVASSING BOARD. Commentary by Dennis Reeves Cooper……. A couple of weeks ago, Bob Dean– through his attorney, Michael Halpern– virtually slapped State Attorney Catherine Vogel right in the face. Following a voting fraud investigation last month, Vogel concluded that Dean may have been voting illegally in Key West for years– because, she said, he doesn’t live in Key West. He lives [continue reading…]

 October 16, 2015  Posted by at 12:52 am * Featured Story *, Issue #136 23 Responses »
Oct 162015
WASTEWATER WORRIES: Scientists Say Treatment Plants Are Breeding Grounds For "Super Bugs"

Here in the Keys the debate over what to do with our wastewater often centers around nutrients and their effect on the offshore natural environment.  But, according to scientists that’s just one small part of why this issue is so important. Learn what scientists and engineers already know about wastewater treatment plants and the role they play in the proliferation of life threatening antibiotic resistant ” Super Bugs” and find out about a new project aimed at providing practical solutions to this worldwide problem.  Cleaning [continue reading…]

 October 16, 2015  Posted by at 12:46 am Issue #136, Public Notice, Water World No Responses »
Oct 092015

Video by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. Commentary by Dennis Reeves Cooper……. Suppose that you are inclined to tell people that you own the Cow Key Channel Bridge and, furthermore, that you are willing to sell it for a reasonable price. And suppose that you hear that there are three Key West residents who might be gullible enough to actually believe that you do own the bridge and who might be willing to make an offer. Who do you think those three people might be? How [continue reading…]

Oct 092015
FKAA Chairman Dean Plays Cat and Mouse

by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. The documents often begin with: “I, J. Robert Dean do solemnly swear” and thereafter the facts seem to change and contradict each other depending on what Dean needs to do to stay in power. On Wednesday Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority [FKAA] Board Chairman Bob Dean provided Supervisor of Elections, Joyce Griffin, with a new sworn affidavit. In response to those who accuse Dean of unlawfully sitting on the FKAA Board and of not being a Key West resident, Dean now [continue reading…]

Oct 092015
A Golden Opportunity

Dear Editor, It’s really a blessing in disguise that Cudjoe Regional hasn’t started operation yet. One very senior DEP official has called this sewer system “kind of a big experiment.” And it’s already showing problems before it’s even operating. I hear reports from the field people that some of the gravity sewers are so leaky that they can’t keep them emptied. And normally a service tech would turn on lift station pumps and know immediately that they were working because the water level would start [continue reading…]

 October 9, 2015  Posted by at 12:42 am Issue #135, Letter to the Editor 3 Responses »
Oct 052015

Supervisor of Elections, Joyce Griffin, confirms that FKAA Board Chairman Bob Dean voted in the City election during the early voting period that ended Saturday. Dean was given a “provisional ballot” in light of the “Voter Challenge” filed by State Attorney Catherine Vogel last month. This means that his vote will not be counted unless the City of Key West Canvassing Board decides to accept Dean’s proof of residency in Key West. A State Attorney investigation concluded last month that Mr. Dean resided in Key Haven [continue reading…]

Oct 022015

Commentary by Dennis Reeves Cooper……. Several years ago, I moved from one apartment to another here in Key West. At that time, I still owned Key West The Newspaper– The Blue Paper– and I was, therefore, a little more concerned about “appearances” than I am now, as an old retired guy. I knew that when one moves, there are laws that have to be considered concerning updating home addresses on drivers licenses, voting registrations, etc.– and although I didn’t really know the details about what legal [continue reading…]

Oct 022015
Cudjoe Regional: Is the BOCC Uninterested in Inconvenient Facts?

by John Prosser……. Before the June 10, 2015 BOCC meeting, I delivered two letters to the BOCC at the Marathon Government Center building in envelopes marked “Agenda Item J1 & Agenda Item J2, Public Comment.” Working people have no opportunity to speak when Board meetings are in the middle of the week and the middle of the day. That is why many town councils meet at night. I asked a County employee to please deliver the envelopes to someone who would hand them to the commissioners before [continue reading…]

 October 2, 2015  Posted by at 12:52 am Island Voices, Issue #134 3 Responses »
Sep 262015

by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. Board member Cara Higgins challenges Chairman Dean’s eligibility to represent District 3 (Key West) on FKAA board…  Watch The Blue Paper exclusive video… Special thanks to Colby Fisher for all his great work in un-covering this story! DID YOU LIKE THIS STORY?  SUPPORT THE BLUE PAPER Help us continue to bring you local investigative journalism…  Click on the image to make a donation [NOT tax deductible].

Sep 252015
Crooked Atty General Bondi Gives Up Whistle Blower

Dear Editor, It was reported to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi that Monroe County through it’s Running Dog Lackey Robert “Bob”Dean, Kurt Zeulch, & the FKAA were actively Extorting 3000+Lower Keys Taxpayers & Property Owners to Give up Property Rights for installation of Monroe County’s Turd Grinders AND SUPPLY Electric to run them. I was Personally told by an Asst. County Atty. that if I didn’t give up and unwillingly surrender my property rights, I would Be BYPASSED and my homestead would be CONDEMNED. I [continue reading…]

 September 25, 2015  Posted by at 12:21 am Issue #133, Letter to the Editor 1 Response »
Sep 182015
State Attorney Challenges FKAA Chairman's Right To Vote In Key West Elections

by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. Is the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority taking on water? Two weeks ago an FKAA board member, Melva Wagner, was forced to resign. She had continued receiving benefits and payments as a board member even though she had moved away from her district almost a year ago. This week it’s FKAA’s Chairman, J Robert Dean, who seems to be walking the plank. “I have reason to believe,” wrote State Attorney Catherine Vogel, after concluding her criminal investigation, “that James Robert Dean is attempting [continue reading…]

 September 18, 2015  Posted by at 12:54 am * Featured Story *, Naja and Arnaud Girard 26 Responses »
Sep 112015
FKAA Board Chairman Under Criminal Investigation

by Naja and Arnaud Girard**……. UPDATE:  9/18/2015 Click here for updated article: State Attorney Challenges FKAA Chairman’s Right To Vote In Key West Elections As of Thursday afternoon, the office of the Monroe County State Attorney has begun investigating the Chairman of the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority [FKAA] Board of Directors. J Robert Dean (aka Bob Dean), the man who for years has been presiding over a board that commands a $50 million annual operating budget and over $200 Million in Keys central sewer construction contracts, may have [continue reading…]

Sep 112015
Harry Bethel, In Response to 'Why Did They Lie' [Sept 4th Issue]

Following publication last week of the article, Why did They Lie, about the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority [FKAA], we received a call from former City Commissioner Harry Bethel.  Mr. Bethel had been head of Customer Service at FKAA for many years after retiring from a similar position at Keys Energy Services.  Mr Bethel indicated that contrary to what was stated in the article, he did not “get the push and resign” but rather had made the decision to retire at the end of August 2008, effective January 2, [continue reading…]

 September 11, 2015  Posted by at 12:50 am Issue #131, News 2 Responses »
Sep 112015
Public Records Lawsuit Against FKAA: Settled Yes, But Still Plenty To Be Concerned About

Dear Editor: The spin artists at FKAA have convinced some of the public media that because the lawsuit was settled over unresponsive and apparently falsified data provided in answer to public records requests, that “there’s nothing to see here, folks.” That is not the case. There is plenty to see and plenty to be concerned about. The suit was not settled because everything was okay. It settled because a lawyer became ill and the data requested (but never delivered) would have arrived too late for [continue reading…]

 September 11, 2015  Posted by at 12:46 am Letter to the Editor 1 Response »
Sep 042015
Why Did They Lie?

Why did they lie? It was a simple matter: Whether Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority board member Melva Wagner was still living in the Keys or whether she had moved out of her house [in foreclosure] on Summerland Key and settled up the coast, in Naples. What meant so much to FKAA that its attorneys would go along with a deceptively complicated story about a homestead declaration and claim, so recklessly, that Wagner was still a bonafide member of the FKAA Board of Directors? It has been [continue reading…]

Sep 042015

Dear Editor, This certainly sounds like extortion to me. What do you think? Black’s Law Dictionary defines extort and extortion thusly: The natural meaning of the word “extort” is to obtain money or other valuable thing either by compulsion, by actual force, or by the force of motives applied to the will, and often more overpowering and irresistible than physical force. Com. v. O’Brien, 12 Cush. (Mass.) 90. Extortion consists in any public officer unlawfully taking, by color of his office, from any person any [continue reading…]

 September 4, 2015  Posted by at 12:30 am Issue #130, Letter to the Editor 3 Responses »
Aug 212015
Ex-FBI Agent Says: Audit FKAA Billing Practices

by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. The Blue Paper received a report, claiming “manipulation and interference with data” at FKAA, that raises legitimate questions about millions of dollars worth of water bills sent to FKAA customers throughout the Keys. Jon Lipsky wrote: “Because the database is used to generate bills for consumers and because the Aqueduct Authority is a public entity, an external audit of the database and billing records is highly recommended.” Lipsky is a retired FBI agent specializing in forensic analysis of documents and databases.

Aug 142015
Billing for No Service Rendered

Dear Editor, It has been published that FKAA will be charging their sewer customers a fee for usage once the notice to hook up is posted Even if there is no connection. No turds have been processed by the Mandated sewer, no service rendered. So how can they bill for no service rendered? A long time ago, before anyone wants to admit, the FKAA was also committing dubious billing practices, causing the South Florida Water Management District to go down to Key West and take [continue reading…]

 August 14, 2015  Posted by at 12:32 am Issue #127, Letter to the Editor No Responses »
Jul 312015
Water Quality Disaster: Whistleblower Accuses Department of Health

by Bud Meaker and Arnaud Girard……. A whistleblower claims the Department of Health (DOH) has turned a blind eye for years on thousands of gallons of sewage that has been seeping into Florida Keys waters. “It’s their duty, their legal obligation under Florida Statutes to monitor the performance of all on-site sewer systems in the Keys, but they don’t do it,” said the insider to The Blue Paper, “It makes me sick.” The source asked to remain anonymous, but this is what we have been able [continue reading…]

May 222015
EVERY LITTLE SECRET... How Did FKAA Really Go About Hiring Randy Acevedo?

by Colby Fisher……. Guest Columnist Colby Fisher dives deep into official records and comes out with a fist full of cronyism. Here’s the real story behind FKAA’s hiring of convicted felon Randy Acevedo… The official story that Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) told the public and press was they hired Randy Acevedo because he was the person who was “best suited” for their Computer Technician job and that FKAA “didn’t see we could turn him away.” The truth, however, is anything but that. He was [continue reading…]

 May 22, 2015  Posted by at 12:39 am * Featured Story *, Issue #115 15 Responses »
Apr 172015
Cudjoe Deep Injection Well Funded But Shallow Well Battle Continues

by JD Adler… March 5, 2015: A team of environmental scientists led by Dr. Briceno of the Florida International University have gathered under blue skies on Cudjoe Key. Their mission: to determine whether the shallow injection wells installed for use in the Cudjoe regional wastewater treatment plant will successfully contain wastewater or whether the ground will prove too porous allowing partially treated sewage to migrate to nearby national marine sanctuary surface waters. By March 19th they would have already found the answer, as described in the report released April 11. “We [continue reading…]

 April 17, 2015  Posted by at 3:50 am * Featured Story *, Issue #110, JD Adler, Water World 6 Responses »
Apr 172015
Dump the Pumps Announces Intent to Sue Federal Agencies

by JD Adler… The law firm of Reiner and Reiner, on behalf of Dump the Pumps, has made a public announcement of intent to sue over lack of environmental impact assessment for Cudjoe Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant. 60-DAY NOTICE OF INTENT TO SUE VIOLATIONS OF THE NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT; THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT; THE MARINE MAMMAL PROTECTION ACT; THE NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARIES ACT; COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT ACT; THE CLEAN WATER ACT AND THE CLEAN AIR ACT; REGARDING MONROE COUNTY AND THE FLORIDA KEYS AQUEDUCT [continue reading…]

 April 17, 2015  Posted by at 2:40 am Issue #110, JD Adler, Water World No Responses »