The economy is so bad...
Juice readers: How bad is it?
So bad that even a filthy stinkin' rich Republican fundraiser like Harry Sargeant III of Delray Beach can't get a loan. The tight credit market is to blame, apparently, for the demise of Tampa Port Authority's agreement to lease 43 acres to an affiliate of Sargeant's Boca-based Oil Trading Company, where it had planned to build a $70 million facility.
Sargeant, you'll remember, was accused last summer by a House of Representatives ethics panel of war profiteering in connection with his firm's deal to transport fuel to the Armed Forces in Iraq. In October, a rival firm sued Sargeant, alleging that he won the lucrative contract only because he bribed Jordanian officials. None of this stopped Tampa's port commissioners from giving Sargeant their unanimous approval. Here we'll note that three of those commissioners were appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist, who was a fraternity brother of Sargeant and remains a close friend, at least judging by the way Crist stook up for Sargeant when the profiteering controversy threatened to push Sargeant from his place as finance chair of the Florida Republican Party. Sargeant resigned from that position last month.