The groups pointed out that Vinyard had worked for BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards and was the chairman of the Shipbuilders Council of America, an industry group that represents more than 100 companies.
The resume Vinyard submitted for the DEP post, which can be found here
, shows that he was director of business operations at the unit of BAE Systems where he "counseled the company on major environmental permitting decisions," among other duties.
When the EPA pursued this point, Thomas Beason, general counsel for DEP who's handling the matter on behalf of Vinyard, said Vinyard only worked for BAE for two weeks and that he did not receive a significant amount of income from the company. Beason said that Vinyard didn't make money as chair of the Shipbuilders Council. He also said that the BAE unit Vinyard worked for and other companies listed on his resume didn't hold the permits in question.
"In order to get around the requirements of the Clean Water Act, he's saying he worked for another company, a company he didn't list on his resume," Jerry Phillips, director of PEER's Florida chapter, tells New Times. "He can't have it both ways. He's either lying to the governor and legislature, or he's lying to the EPA."
On a questionnaire
Vinyard submitted to Governor Scott's office as part of the application process, Vinyard listed BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards -- formerly known as Atlantic Marine Shipyards -- as his primary employer from 1999 through 2011.
Furthermore, Vinyard's experience at BAE was touted by Governor Scott when announcing the appointment. In this 2011 press release
from the governor's office, Scott praised the legal services Vinyard provided to BAE, the world's second-largest defense contractor.
An April 27 letter from the EPA
asked Beason to explain these apparent discrepancies, as well as provide information on all the subsidiaries of the companies that Vinyard worked for. The agency also asked Beason to clarify how BAE's acquisition of Atlantic Marine affected Vinyard's employment status.
PEER says that the BAE unit and/or Atlantic Marine held national pollutant discharge elimination system permits in the two years preceding Vinyard's appointment.
"Now Vinyard is denying that he worked for the company that he once claimed gave him the experience to be secretary of DEP," Phillips says. "He's saying through his attorney that he didn't work there. It's a shell game."
The EPA didn't return calls asking for comment. Vinyard's attorney was unavailable for comment.
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