The P Word

The mysterious Ellen Dalton messaged the Pulp this morning with this missive about the Sun-Sentinel's Seminole investigation:

Well, well, well. The crowing from Las Olas Boulevard is that this week's Seminole tribe story is their Pulitzer winner. Already, there are bold predictions of sweeping reforms and other corrective actions that will arise out of this expose.

It's an impressive report involving an amazing amount of documentation. They deserve some serious props for doing the story, and uncovering what they uncovered. It's good, solid journalism. But as for a Pulitzer and other recognition? We shall see. You heard it here first: The expectation is that this will capture The Big Prize.

From Sally Kestin, Peter Franceschina, and John Maines, I concur that it is excellent journalism. And I commend the Sun-Sentinel and Executive Editor Earl Maucker for going pretty much balls-to-the-wall on it despite the pressure from the Tribe (which has been rumored about plenty). This certainly offsets that whole Gulfstream Park spike thing.

And the Pulitzer? I'm with Ellen on that, waiting on the sidelines. It's big, well-written, and interesting, but reports about the Seminole leadership's rampant, insane spending are nothing new (and mostly it boils down to David Cypress). A decent amount of the supporting info comes from a five-year-old court case, in fact.

Read this lede:

Tales of uncontrolled spending, lavish lifestyles, allegations of kickbacks and dozens of luxury cars paid for with casino profits caught the attention of Seminole tribe members and curious courtroom observers at this month's trial of three men accused of stealing millions of dollars from the Seminoles.

Take away the court stuff and it could have been the top of the first story of the series. But it appeared in the Sentinel five years ago on Dec. 27, 2002. Or how about this line:

But unfettered spending and an utter lack of accountability were also on [gaming commission chairman] Hogen's agenda. He warned the Seminole tribal council that it must institute restraints on its infamous slush funds.

That's from the Herald's Fred Grimm, circa 2004.

In a sense, this is a follow-up to the previous stories saying, "Um, nothing has changed."

Let's face the facts. This is an internal fight between factions of Indians who are filthy rich and will spend their fortune one way or the other. Without oversight, we in the United States can hem and haw, but nothing much is ever going to change. Back about nine or ten years ago the St. Pete Times did a similarly ambitious Seminole investigation. It's a distant memory now.

But the most important thing in terms of the Pulitzer, as El-D alludes to, is the impact. I hope the series has a profound one. It's about time the S won the P.

As for that Miramar commissioner, all I was going to say was this: He should have been charged with aggravated assault. The Miramar police went ridiculously easy on him. Anybody that says pulling a fucking gun on someone in a Winn Dixie is a misdemeanor has got to be whacked in the head.

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman