Gov. Scott Appoints Brash Loyalist & Mega-Donor to Chair Constitutional Revision Commission

TALLAHASSEE – Governor Rick Scott appointed Southwest Florida developer and former U.S. Senate candidate Carlos Beruff to chair the important Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC). Given the massive influence Beruff will have over the direction the commission takes, it is necessary to examine Beruff’s “qualifications” (beyond giving Scott and his PAC $78,000, of course):

  • “Shady businessman” – Real estate developer Beruff has faced controversy after controversy throughout his career. From suing Manatee County over a rejected development proposal that environmentalists said would cause irreparable damage to the shoreline, to using toxic, defective materials in homes his company built, Carlos Beruff clearly cares more about his own bottom line than that of the communities around him.

“For a person to have the mindset to destroy the environment for his own personal gain is just not the type of person that we want representing us.” – former Manatee County Commissioner Joe McClash [WWSB, 3/4/16]

  • “Like a dictator… political bully” – Time and again, politicians take campaign cash from Beruff in exchange for cushy political appointments. Beruff then uses said appointments to “act in political self-interest and take orders from Gov. Rick Scott,” drawing pointed criticism along the way:

“When [Beruff] wants to do something, he’s like a dictator…He’s what I call a political bully.” [WGCU,7/22/16]

  • “Not a friend of the public interest” – While on the Southwest Florida Water Management District board, Beruff gave longtime friend and fellow developer Pat Neal a controversial permit to tear down mangroves for a massive family compound of mansions, with local environmental leaders noting:

“Carlos Beruff is not a friend of the public interest.” – Glenn Compton, chair of ManaSota 88 [941 CEO, 8/16/16]

  • Compared his Senate run to having Alzheimer’s – During his 2016 campaign for U.S. Senate, Beruff offended Floridians when he said, “I learn every day. It’s sort of like Alzheimer’s. So I’ve got a new and exciting day every day.” Beruff drew ire from both sides of the aisle, including Lt. Gov. Lopez-Cantera who called the comments:

“Not only offensive to those who suffer with the disease, they demonstrate why he’s unfit to be a United States Senator.” [Sun-Sentinel, 4/28/16]

  • “Abuse of power” – As a Scott-appointed member of SCF’s Board of Trustees, Carlos Beruff was accused of “abusing [his] position” by the Board’s former chairman:

“You… are abusing your positions to excessively micromanage and disrupt normal operations of the college… The abuse of power reflect badly on you and Governor Scott’s appointees.” – Ronald J. Allen, Former Board of Trustees Chairman State College of Florida Manatee – Sarasota [Allen letter, 10/19/12]

  • “Bad for colleges, students and taxpayers” – Beruff led the charge to eliminate tenure at SCF, a policy many believe would “decrease the quality of instructors it attracts.” The move was:

“Bad for the colleges, the students and the taxpayers. Stacking boards with political cronies, most of whom have no discernible level of expertise but are reliable agents of his political ideology, has been Scott’s M.O. from the start.” [The Bradenton Times, 10/1/15]

  • “Florida’s Donald Trump” – Beruff called himself a lieutenant of Donald Trump and embraced Trump’s travel ban, even taking it one step further when he said: “I don’t think it’s safe to allow anybody from the Middle East into this country.” [Miami New Times, 4/26/16]