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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Will Wall St. meltdown foul up Sugar deal?



Everglades Among the people nervously watching Wall Street's meltdown: the state officials in charge of pursuing Gov. Charlie Crist's buyout of U.S. Sugar for Everglades restoration.

The South Florida Water Management District is in charge of negotiating the buyout. The agency expected to finance the purchase -- which could cost as much as $1.75-billion -- by borrowing the money from nine different bankers. Leading the district's list of bankers: Morgan Stanley. Also on the list: Goldman Sachs and  Lehman Brothers. So when the news broke about all three taking a nosedive, it put an additional kink into the already complex negotiations.

"When I saw that, I said, 'Oh crap,' " Carol Wehle, executive director of the South Florida Water Management District, said Thursday while attending the Water Congress in Orlando.Wehle said she has no idea at this point how the financing will play out at this  point, but she said, "Good thing we're not closing on this tomorrow." [SFWMD image of Everglades]

--Craig Pittman


[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 8:50am]


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