Taxpayers to clean up "Linger"ing mess?
Let me get this straight: The current ownership of "parts of" the Linger Lodge property are long-time Manatee County politico Mike Bennett, Marvin Kaplan and a group of investors.
Property that is currently deemed an "impaired water body" due to pollution upriver and from the Linger Lodge property, their property! Property that they call "unique" because a nationally known weatherman and a nationally recognized financial magazine did puff pieces on them.
Now Mike Bennett/Kaplan/et al want the state (taxpayers) to buy and restore this property to "protect our drinking water supply" (Herald, Dec. 20).
This scheme is being sold to us by none other than political ally Charlie Hunsicker, parks and natural resources director, who in a letter to the state cites "The protection of our drinking water supply" and because it is the "heart and soul of a solid conservation plan" as the reason we (the taxpayers) should purchase this property.
Hold the phones, Charlie. Bennett and partners have owned this property since 2005 and it is unlikely they have spent a dime to preserve and protect the quality of our drinking water supply. Why are they not being held accountable and responsible for this? These are EPA violations. Isn't the mandate of the Parks and Natural Resources Department to protect the watershed surrounding this property?
Taxpayers should not have to ensure capital gains on investments made by large land speculators such as Bennett, Beruff, and Benderson, with no risk to their own capital. A seemingly common occurrence in this county lately. With no accountability on investors or sellers.