Allegations About Property Appraiser Sensational, But Highly Suspect
OK, so this is a crazy one that ultimately leads to a story about Dan Marino supposedly partying it up in a playboy condo with Hootie in Costa Rica. But it begins with an Orlando blog post alleging improper dealings between Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish and Fort Lauderdale multimillionaire Jack Hutchings, who made a $350 million fortune selling a parts factory to General Motors.
An anonymous blogger in Orlando is alleging that Hutchings gave illegal contributions to Parrish in exchange for her not to reassess his home, Fort Lauderdale's White House, a lavish estate on the Intracoastal and a regular stop for boat tours. On a site called "Meet Orlando," the blogger alleged that Parrish and Hutchings were now part of the federal probe in Broward County.
The blogger is also alleging that Hutchings' lawyer, former state Sen. David Simmons, hired one of Parrish's top aides, Ron Cacciatore.
The problem with all these allegations is that they appear half-baked at best. There's no indication that this has anything to do with the federal investigation. A complaint to the Florida Elections Commission has already been dropped. And both Simmons and Cacciatore deny the employment, saying they never spoken until this afternoon, when Cacciatore called Simmons after reading the allegations in the Pulp comments.
"I called him, and he said, 'It's a pleasure meeting you since I've never met you in my life,'" Cacciatore told me. "And I said, 'I
Simmons says he suspects that former Hutchings' partner and employee Jim Adamczyk is behind the latest blog postings but hasn't confirmed it. NEW: A database provide by GoDaddy.com shows that the website is indeed owned Mark Adamczyk, Jim's son.
Seems that Adamczyk is upset about his break from Hutchings and has been on a bit of cyber-jihad against the millionaire. Adamczyk has been ruled against several times in court, says Simmons, and has even been held in contempt.
Recently, a judge threatened to jail Adamczyk at the James E. Polk Correctional Facility in Sanford if he kept up his Internet postings. But the guy keeps going.
"[Adamczyk] has gone out on a terror campaign," says Simmons.
This after the two of them were close pals for more than 15 years. Click here to read a fascinating piece in the Orlando Weekly about the relationship between the two men and the fallout. Hutchings, by the way, is blind. And there is no doubt that the two men were close. Here's an interesting excerpt the Orlando Weekly took from Adamczyk's court filings:
On or about March 28, , Adamczyk flew Morgan Stanley employees Tom Cleary and Bob Wittington to Costa Rica on Hutchings' private Gulfstream IV jet with celebrities Dan Marino, Tony Siragusa and Darius Rucker, lead singer from Hootie and the Blowfish. Adamczyk provided free airfare, free lodging in a $2.5 million condo and also free parties every night for four days straight, including unlimited alcohol, food and many young beautiful women.
I asked Hutchings' attorney, Simmons, if that trip actually happened. Hutchings owns a coffee plantation and had business interests in Costa Rica.
"I don't know, I would have to look into it," he told me. "But Mr. Hutchings is a very, very wealthy man."
Ah the good life (though the thought of Siragusa in that situation is just creepy for some reason).
[After reading this, Simmons called and said, "I certainly deny that anything inappropriate happened on any trip." He also confirmed that Hutchings and Marino are friends.]
But what about the allegations that Hutchings got special treatment from Parrish for campaign contributions? Well, Hutchings did contribute to Parrish's campaign. Cacciatore says he contributed at least $500 to the campaign at a fundraiser held by car dealer Jimmy Bryan. But a check of property appraiser records shows that Hutchings' "White House" -- which he put on the market for $35 million in 2006 -- was assessed and was reduced in assessed value from $12.4 million to $10.3 million from 2007 to 2009.
Here's the property appraiser's web page for the Hutchings house -- if you can find any irregularities, let me know, because I can't.
I have left a message at the Meet Orlando blog for comment and will update when/if it comes.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.