Breakfast bites: DeSantis migrant flight response; Ambassador Crist; Trump in South Florida crosshairs; Polston out at Citizens

by | Jun 8, 2023

Some tasty news nuggets to start your day…

DeSantis speaks out on migrant relocation flights

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has called for states to take a more aggressive approach to immigration enforcement, while facing criticism for directing flights of migrants from Texas to Sacramento. DeSantis defended the use of Florida tax dollars for the flights, stating that it was a way to help Texas combat the border crisis. However, California officials have launched investigations into the flights, accusing Florida of potential criminal wrongdoing and using words like “kidnapping.” California Governor Gavin Newsom questioned the use of Florida tax dollars to move migrants who were never in Florida, emphasizing that California would hold those accountable if they broke the state’s laws. DeSantis, who recently announced his candidacy for president, made these remarks during an event in Sierra Vista, Arizona, where he expressed opposition to the Biden administration’s immigration policies. He is scheduled to make campaign stops in Texas and Oklahoma in the coming days.

Down but not out: Crist tapped for Ambassador post

Former U.S. Representative Charlie Crist will be nominated for an ambassador position, according to the White House. President Joe Biden plans to nominate Crist as the Representative of the United States of America on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), with the rank of ambassador. The ICAO is a United Nations agency responsible for air-transportation policies and standards. Crist, who served as a Republican governor from 2006 to 2010, later switched to the Democratic Party and was elected to the U.S. House in 2016. He lost the last three statewide elections he participated in, unsuccessfully running for U.S. Senate in 2010, then lost a race for governor in 2014 against Rick Scott, and last year challenged Republican Governor Ron DeSantis in the gubernatorial race, losing by nearly 20 points. Senate confirmation will be required for Crist’s nomination to the aviation post.

Trump in South Florida grand jury crosshairs

A South Florida grand jury has been convened as part of a broader investigation into former President Donald Trump’s activities. The grand jury is examining Trump’s efforts to retain materials after leaving office and obstruct the government’s attempts to retrieve them. The Department of Justice guidelines suggest notifying the subject of an investigation before seeking an indictment, and Trump’s lawyers recently met with DOJ officials to discuss their concerns about the integrity of the grand jury. Special Counsel John Smith, who is leading the investigation, was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland and is also looking into Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Additionally, Trump is facing separate charges in New York City related to falsifying business records.

Citizens Insurance catches a break in litigation

The state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. experienced a decline in new lawsuits during the first quarter of this year. However, the company still faced a significant number of pending cases, totaling over 19,000 as of the end of March, according to a recently published document on its website. From January to March, Citizens received 2,229 lawsuits, averaging 743 new lawsuits per month. This marked a decrease from the monthly average of 943 lawsuits during the same period in 2022. Despite the reduction in new lawsuits, the number of pending cases increased by 9% compared to the previous year. The executive summary acknowledged this upward trend, attributing it to the ongoing backlog of lawsuits in the court system. Citizens, along with other insurers, has attributed rising insurance costs in the state to lawsuits. In response, lawmakers have implemented measures to address this issue, including recent actions taken during a special legislative session in December. The majority of the lawsuits filed in the first quarter of 2023 were related to residential property, with Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties accounting for 64% of the cases, as stated in the update.

Speaking of Citizens…

Retired Supreme Court justice Ricky Polston is once again making a career change. After just three months of serving as General Counsel for Citizens Property Insurance, Polston is now leaving that position to join Shutts & Bowen. According to a memo from Citizens President and CEO Tim Cerio, Polston’s move will be effective from June 30 onwards. At Shutts & Bowen, Polston will lead the constitutional law section of the firm. Shutts & Bowen is a highly regarded firm known for its well-connected lawyers who have been appointed to various state boards and offices. Cerio stated in the memo that Polston decided to seize an opportunity that he believed was best for him and his family, given his exceptional legal career thus far.



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