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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

What 'insider' LeMieux had to say about Everglades deal

8

March

Lemieuxinsider

Cast as an "insider" and "former chief of staff to Governor Charlie Crist," George LeMieux delivered the keynote address at a conference sponsored by his law firm, which represented U.S. Sugar in a colossal deal to sell its Everglades land to Florida.

The speech -- and the way it was advertised -- raises questions about LeMieux's denial in today's New York Times story that he had any role in the deal and took pains to avoid a conflict of interest. LeMieux left Crist in January 2008 re-join his law firm, Gunster Yoakley.

The Buzz has found the promotional material for the event on Oct. 30-31, 2008, at the Hilton Hotel in Deerfield Beach. A schedule described the speech as a discussion of the "future of ecosystem restoration and sustainable development in Florida." LeMieux spoke about the U.S. Sugar deal in the speech and during a Q&A session, according to a person familiar with the talk.

The Everglades deal was reworked in April 2008, but negotiations began while LeMieux was at Crist's side. A spokesman for now-U.S. Sen. LeMieux told the Buzz, “The senator went to great lengths to put a wall between him and the transaction, He played no role in the agreement. Anything he discussed about it at that conference was available in the public domain.”

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 1:26pm]

    

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