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Hernando's Blaise Ingoglia is example of what not to do

Sorry to have to go over all of this again. But a big cause of our current mess — not the oil spill, the other one — was too many builders selling too many houses to too many buyers looking to turn a quick buck.

As the mortgage payments stopped and the defaults spread, our financial system needed hundreds of billions of bailout money, some of which has been paid back, but a lot of which hasn't. To keep the economy from flatlining, we pumped in another $787 billion worth of stimulus.

On Thursday, as you may have read, Blaise Ingoglia announced plans to hold a couple of "Government Gone Wild: The Tea Party Edition '' seminars in June.

He said this will do for the bloated federal government what the 2007 versions did for the county, which, by the way, is now flat broke.

I say it's like Casey Jones giving lectures on railroad safety.

Why? Well, unfortunately, that requires looking back on more ugliness.

Ingoglia, chairman of the Hernando Republican Executive Committee and owner of Hartland Homes, built more than 400 houses in Hernando. He sold them mainly to investors and, starting in 2006, tapped directly into the pool of suckers who gathered at real estate expos around the country.

In March 2007, with the Florida real estate market in a free fall, Ingoglia handed out fliers to a Los Angles audience that said, "Housing Bubble? … Think Again!!!"

He touted his company as "one of the largest home builders'' in the state because a local business journal had ranked it 35th biggest in the Tampa Bay area.

He told his audience that 1,900 people a day were moving to Florida, even though by that time major van lines had reported that more people were moving out than in. He just about guaranteed buyers — according to one of them, Kathryn Morea — that they could resell their homes for a $25,000 profit before they were even built.

That claim was backed by an appraisal of her house so bogus that the former chairman of the Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board said it "just appears to be contrived.'' Most deceptive of all, perhaps, is what Ingoglia didn't tell Morea: that her house was on a lime rock road.

(He denies selling her the lot and cited a listing from a different real estate agent. Morea produced a document on Hartland letterhead saying, "Your lot and subdivision will be chosen for you.")

Am I trying to claim one local builder really made a significant contribution to this year's $1.56 trillion budget deficit? Of course not. And, yes, there are obviously plenty of causes beyond the housing crisis for both our lifeless economy and soaring debt. I even agree that it's good for citizens to learn as much as they can about federal spending.

Just not from Ingoglia, who is a poster child for business practices that created a huge burden on the national economy and federal budget, and who isn't going to give out any information that doesn't help his party. And, yes, though these seminars are nominally nonpartisan, one look at the host committee says otherwise.

If Republicans want to court the tea party (Unofficial motto: Cut my taxes, damn it, but don't touch my Medicare or Social Security!), that is their right, of course. But with Ingoglia as the front man, expect a train wreck.

Hernando's Blaise Ingoglia is example of what not to do 05/15/10 [Last modified: Saturday, May 15, 2010 1:15pm]
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