Charlie Crist's Spring Break Adventure on Palm Beach: War Profiteer Wedding
Saturday night, Spring Break 2011.I was wandering the lavishly carpeted halls at The Breakers on Palm Beach, searching for a bar serving $14 cosmos.
Ostentatiously heavy chandeliers lit each long, winding hall. I passed medieval-looking tapestries, and a random baby grand piano. In a back ballroom, near the ocean, hundreds of glamorous people in black cocktail dresses and suits were gallivanting with flutes of champagne, toasting the marriage of Harry Sargeant IV to Morgan Elam.
You remember Sargeant's dad, right? Delray Beach billionaire Harry Sargeant III's oil company allegedly overcharged the feds by $200 million to transport fuel to Iraq. A nasty
Pentagon audit about Sargeant's alleged war profiteering came out last week, just days before his son's nuptials.Sargeant, the former finance chair of the Florida Republican Party, couldn't have appreciated the PR.
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But nobody at The Breakers seemed to mind. The wedding ceremony was held outside overlooking the ocean, on a patch of grass sprinkled with white flower petals.The bride wore Vera Wang, and about 280 close friends and family were invited to a reception with a five-course meal.
Around 10 p.m., a familiar face appeared in the hallway outside the ballroom. The man had an unmistakably orange tan, a shock of white hair, and a boot cast on his injured foot. It was former governor Charlie Crist, the elder Sargeant's frat brother and friend.
Stunningly, Crist was with a woman! Even more scandalous: She had long, dark brown hair, and appeared to be his wife, Carole Rome.
Crist half-smiled at me, ignoring the frozen expression on my face. Then the couple continued walking briskly down the hallway, presumably headed to whatever after-party is appropriate following a war profiteer family wedding.
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