Tag Archives: Okeelanta

Everglades Agricultural Area Land Ownership, The Few That Do…, SLR/IRL

“Who Owns the Land in the EAA? Mapping Out Florida’s Water Future.”

Today I will complete 1-10 listed on the  Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council’s map of Everglades Agricultural Area land ownership. As I did not go into the great detail as I did with 1-7 previously, I have included informational links to 8-10.

My husband, Ed, told me my multi-colored map showing land ownership was getting confusing with parts 1-7, so I have tried to simplify and re-color code it below. This hand-made map is by no means perfect and certainly has errors, but gives an idea.

What have we learned in the past seven posts? Well it appears the Fanjul Family owns at least 2, 3, 7, 8 and 9 on the map and U.S. Sugar Corporation owns 1 and 6. #4 is King Ranch; #5 is Wedgworth Farms. They are independent. #10, New Farm Inc., was not listed on Sunbiz, but I did find it listed in law suit regarding contamination of lands from 1985. I will try to learn what is the status of these lands, and if I am missing something.

Below you will find each corporation 1-10 linked to SUNBIZ listing officers and the 1985 law suit of New Farms Inc. As you go through the links you will start to recognize some of the names. Through recognizing the names you will see who owns what and the connections.

Names aside, it is clear that most of the 700,000 acres in the EAA is owned by only a handful of corporations and powerful families…

This entire series was started because of Senate President Elect, Joe Negron’s proposal for land purchase to store, clean and convey waters south the Everglades (the circles on bottom image). This controversial subject will come up during the 2017 legislative session. Land ownership will be important information to have on hand. Purchasing lands in the EAA is not a far-fetched idea. A third outlet south of the lake and moving water south is the only way to truly alleviate the destruction of our St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. We must advocate for this goal!

file-page1-2
TCRPC EAA map
FullSizeRender 5.jpg
color coded map of landownership JTL

1. United States Sugar Corporation (USSC): http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=UNITEDSTATESSUGAR%208038790&aggregateId=forp-803879-06bef4db-0feb-469e-ba23-3f2147d91a1f&searchTerm=united%20states%20sugar&listNameOrder=UNITEDSTATESSUGAR%208038790

2. Okeelanta: http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=OKEELANTA%20P043840&aggregateId=forp-p04384-ee043bd3-b794-4ca2-ae09-211c05e3ec48&searchTerm=okeelanta&listNameOrder=OKEELANTA%200065250

3. New Hope Sugar Co.: http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=NEWHOPESUGAR%202486740&aggregateId=domp-248674-74190f46-1014-4027-89fb-78bffb22106a&searchTerm=new%20hope%20sugar%20corp&listNameOrder=NEWHOPESUGAR%202486740

4. King Ranch Inc.: http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=KINGRANCH%20F130000028730&aggregateId=forp-f13000002873-07eb1012-40df-444b-9bb1-1b35c2f43a67&searchTerm=king%20ranch&listNameOrder=KINGRANCH%208183400

5. Wedgeworth Farms Inc.: http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=WEDGWORTHFARMS%201862360&aggregateId=domp-186236-65082899-6949-4338-be01-cf89b105e43b&searchTerm=wedgworth%20farms%20inc&listNameOrder=WEDGWORTHFARMS%201862360

6. SBG Farms Inc. : http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=SBGFARMS%206834482&aggregateId=domp-683448-93ceb6fc-2d8d-4267-90ca-bfd54e7816bf&searchTerm=SBG%20farms&listNameOrder=SBGFARMS%206834482

7. Stofin Farms Inc. :
http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=STOFIN%201856420&aggregateId=domp-185642-9100e283-b064-4a5f-8083-da9865fd09e3&searchTerm=stofin%20&listNameOrder=STOFIN%201856420

8.Closter Farms Inc. : http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=CLOSTERFARMS%202508760&aggregateId=domp-250876-79fb7957-038f-4096-a343-495fa054c721&searchTerm=closter%20farms&listNameOrder=CLOSTERFARMS%202508760

Sun Sentinel Article: http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1986-01-08/news/8601020253_1_pahokee-farms-everglades-agricultural-area-bidder

9. Sugar Cane Growers:
http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=SUGARCANEGROWERSCOOPERATIVEFLO%207908250&aggregateId=domnp-790825-cddfd255-2b6a-40f1-9b5c-a1662cd054bb&searchTerm=sugar%20cane%20growers%20ass&listNameOrder=SUGARCANEGROWERSCOOPERATIVEFLO%207908250

(Website: http://www.scgc.org) It appears that George Wedgeworth founded the Sugar Cane Co-op in the 50s but it is associated with the Fanjuls today.
(http://www.asr-group.com/about-us/our-owners/)
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_Cane_Growers_Cooperative_of_Florida)

10. New Farms (Not active on Sunbiz)
1985 SFWMD Law suit: http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/F3/84/402/568666/

*10/25/16 addition: Thank you to reader Bob Washam who sent me the following link after reading my post whose officers show New Farm Inc to be a Fanjul property as well: (Jacqui here is a possible link to the officers of New Farm, Inc.

http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=NEWFARM%20F393840&aggregateId=domp-f39384-e8cc8894-5dd0-436a-922b-8f2b597397d2&searchTerm=new%20farm&listNameOrder=NEWFARM%20F393840)

file-page1
Senator Joe Negron’s land acquisition map 2016

_______________________________________________
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fanjul_brothers#Various_business_holdings_and_ventures

______________________________________________________________

 

Posted 10-27-16 after blog reader and friend, Bob Washam, sent in the Sunbiz info for New Farms Inc. that shows this too is a Fanjul property. JTL

IMG_6332.jpg

Okeelanta Corporation, Mapping Out the Future of Water, SLR/IRL

file-page1-2.jpgToday I will continue my series “Who Owns the Land South of Lake Okeechobee? Mapping out the Future of Water.” Hurricane Matthew caused a slight interruption, but now we shall continue. 🙂

Here we go!

Number two on the TCRPC map (above) is Okeelanta Corporation. “Okeelanta is a division of Florida Crystals, the word is a combination of two made into one. “Okee,” coming from “Okeechobee,” and “lanta,” coming from “Atlantic.” Cleverly named for a location between Lake Okeechobee and the Atlantic Ocean. Okeelanta was a historic town founded by writer and politician Laurence E. Will’s father. The town stood about one mile below South Bay. It was destroyed in the 1928 Hurricane: http://www.pbchistoryonline.org/page/okeelanta

I’m not sure if the company Okeelanta is named after the town, but I believe it was bought, and I know it is now owned by the Fanjul family of Cuba who owns Florida Crystals. As many of us know, the Fanjul family came to South Florida because of Fidel Castro’s 1959 Marxist Revolution. The family moved to Florida along with other wealthy, dispossessed families. Here with the support of the US Government the Fanjuls rebuilt their fortune as the US grew to be a leader in the world sugar trade, at the expense of the Florida Everglades.

In regards to the map, it must be noted that compared to US Sugar Corporation, the Fanjul family are relative”newcomers.” This is why their land holdings are further south of Lake Okeechobee. They acquired lands as the industry expanded after 1960.

Sometimes I say “until the Cuban Revolution there were only 100,000 acres of sugar cane in the EAA.” This is probably off, but you get the point. As Laurence E. Will in his historic book noted in a previous post: “After the Cuban Revolution, for a short time our government permitted the unrestricted panting of sugar cane…”

Again I stress that the expansion of these lands by the US Government is what allowed this area to be convered from Everglades to sugar fields, and it is only our state and national governments that can encourage and fairly compensate land owners for lands purchased in the EAA to allow water storage in an area that should never have been 100% developed in the first place. We have to encourage land owners to please be a part of the solution of allowing storage of excess water and helping more clean water move south…

According the TCRPC map Okeelanta owns 86,793 acres of land in the Everglades Agricultural Area, (EAA.) A lot!

I have colored in the #2s  with orange highlighter so you can see these lands more clearly and how the intersect with Senator Joe Negron’s circles for possible proposed land acquisition. Remember that 9 days ago I colored in United States Sugar Corporation’s (USSC) lands in purple crayon. They are #1.

IMG_5991.jpg

So now we can clearly “see” what lands are owned by USSC and by Okeelanta.

“Okeelanta Corporation, a sugarcane company, engages in farming, milling, packaging, and distributing sugar cane. It has a 67,000 acres facility that includes cane fields, a mill, refinery, packaging and distribution center and a power plant. The company was incorporated in 1984 and is based in West Palm Beach, Florida. Okeelanta Corporation operates as a subsidiary of Florida Crystals Corporation.”

As we shall see in future posts, the Fanjul holdings have various names, thus they own more land than noted in the map above. Like them or not, the family is clever just like the name “Okeelanta” and infamous for their political influence. The two most well known brothers are noted for ties to different political parties:  Alfonso Fanjul, Democratic Party while Pepe, contributes to Republican Party. For the record the other brothers names are Alexander and Andres. And they have a sister. Her name is Lillian Banjul Azqueta and she is president and founder of New Hope Charities.

As controversial as the family is, they do a lot of good for the poor Glades communities and they own what we want. We must work together for a better water future for Florida that includes our St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.

Vanity Fair article IN THE KINGDOM OF BIG SUGAR: http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2001/02/floridas-fanjuls-200102

New Hope Charities: http://www.newhopecharities.com.

Okeelanta Corp.: http://broward.jobing.com/florida-crystals-okeelanta-corporation

Florida Crystals: https://www.floridacrystals.com

Fanjul Bros. WIKI: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fanjul_brothers

file-page1.jpg
Senator Negron’s proposed land purchase map 2016/17