All Aboard Florida: Treasure Coast officials raise concerns about board set to vote on bonds

Posted on June 3, 2015

By Jennifer Sorentrue

Treasure Coast officials on Tuesday raised concerns about the makeup of a state board set to decide this month whether All Aboard Florida should receive $1.75 billion in tax-exempt bonds to help fund its express-passenger train service.

Florida Development Finance Corp. will meet on June 10 in Orlando to discuss All Aboard Florida’s bond request. Under the proposal, the state group would act as conduit issuer for the bonds but carries no risk in the event of a default.

In a letter sent to FDFC officials on Tuesday, a group of attorneys representing Martin and Indian River counties and the All Aboard Florida opposition group, Citizens Against Rail Expansion, raised questions about the vote.

CARE FL Attorney Stephen Ryan,  Martin County Attorney Michael Durham, and Indian River County Attorney Dylan Reingold argue problems with the board’s membership prevent the group from voting on the bonds or taking up other items.

In the letter, the attorneys say members of the board were not properly appointed by the governor or confirmed by state lawmakers. As a result, they argue the board does not have a quorum.

In addition, they argue that board members haven’t filed required financial disclosure forms with the state. The letter also takes aim at FDFC Board Member Daniel Davis, President and CEO of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, arguing he has a conflict of interest that would prevent him from voting on the bonds.  Florida East Coast Railway, an affiliate of All Aboard Florida, is a member of the chamber, the letter says.

“In light of these substantial defects, the FDFC should refrain from acting upon the AAF bonds or any other matter until these serious defects are fixed,” the letter says.

The FDFC said Tuesday that it was reviewing the letter.

Click here to view original article