By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Keegan Hamilton and Francisco Alvarado
By Jake Rossen
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Chris Joseph
By Michael E. Miller
This dashing air-conditioning heir built the International Polo Club Palm Beach, pouring millions into the sport of smacking things with a mallet while astride a very large pony. After a night of partying in February 2010, Goodman sped through a stop sign and crashed his Bentley into a Hyundai owned by 23-year-old Scott Wilson. While Wilson drowned, trapped in his car in a canal, Goodman hid in a barn and dithered about calling the police. The Palm Beach sheriff took three months to investigate, and Goodman chilled out at luxe hotels in Miami before finally being arrested in May. But even famous lawyer Roy Black couldn't get a jury to believe that the Bentley malfunctioned and Goodman got drunk after the accident; Goodman was found guilty of DUI manslaughter, failure to render aid, and vehicular homicide and sentenced to 16 years in prison. But he decided to pay for a lengthy appeals process and, like any savvy investor, shielded part of his money from civil damages by adopting his 42-year-old girlfriend. While he waited for his case to wind through the courts, a judge allowed him out on bond, letting him hang around his home with an ankle monitor rather than be stuck eating baloney sandwiches in the big house with the riffraff. But that's not the most infuriating thing about his case. Homeboy was not content to stay on his 80-acre estate, and cops say he used a mirror to tamper with his ankle bracelet. Finally Goodman went back to jail, where he was awaiting a hearing on November 26.
Lois Frankel, the former mayor of West Palm Beach, was all set to challenge Rep. Lt. Col. Allen West for his seat in the U.S. House this year. But nutso West fled the district and moved his residence up north to a more Republican electorate, while former Senate hopeful Adam Hasner stepped in to challenge true-blue Democrat Frankel. Hasner's no Allen West, but he's been known to drip his tea bags all over the place: The former Florida House majority leader has warned Broward Republicans of impending sharia law, pledged to turn Medicare into a voucher system, and sometimes donned red, white, and blue boots made from elephant skin. He also launched a series of audacious attack ads against Frankel. The crown jewel in his negative campaign was an ad blaming Frankel for spending more than $13,000 in taxpayer money on a marble shower in a private bathroom with her own toilet. PolitiFact Florida rated this claim half-true, finding that the West Palm mayor's office does include a bathroom with a marble shower but that it was part of a multimillion-dollar rehab of City Hall that was voted through by the City Commission. But the accusation was as memorable as Hasner's flag-colored boots, especially when the camera zoomed out on the narrator, sitting on a toilet. "When you gotta go, you gotta go," she said, after flushing. "But that's just ridiculous." Yes, it is. Both Hasner and West lost their congressional races.
While we're tempted to put Buffett on this list just for plaguing our entire adult lives with songs like "Cheeseburger in Paradise," it's his relentless commodification of our subtropical climes that is threatening to make a big ol' mess down Hollywood way. Buffett built his first Margaritaville store in Key West in 1985, and he's now the third-richest singer in the world despite never winning a single Grammy. He slapped his Land Shark beer name on the Dolphins stadium for a while, in a deal that also brought us the ubiquitous "fins to the left, fins to the right" song (what is it with these turkeys making terrible sports music?). Now he's licensed the Margaritaville name to a $126 million stalled behemoth of a project in Hollywood: a hotel with seven restaurants, bars, shops, and a wave pool. Developer Lon Tabatchnik has been stringing along the City Commission looking for financiers; a plot to lure Chinese investors in return for American citizenship didn't work out, so now he's gotten a tentative financing deal with Starwood Capital. Like a stiff frozen daiquiri, Buffett's name has numbed us to what the project really is: a massive, ugly boondoggle that will forever corporatize Hollywood Beach.