Did Environmentalist Maggy Hurchalla Try To Hide Assets After $4.4 Million-Judgement?

by | Aug 1, 2018

 

South Florida environmentalist Maggy Hurchalla’s bank accounts were examined with a fine-toothed comb yesterday in a Martin County circuit court in the first of what’s expected to be series of hearings to determine how Hurchalla is going to pay for a $4.4 million-judgment won by mining company Lake Point.
And while the Everglades activist claims in court papers she doesn’t own much more than a beat-up Toyota truck and two aging kayaks, Lake Point lawyers painted a much different picture.
“We know Ms. Hurchalla has more than an old Toyota and 2 kayaks,” said Lake Point attorney Ethan Loeb, citing her land in Australia and “all over” Martin County, and brokerage accounts with hundreds of thousands.
Earlier this month, Martin County Sheriff’s deputies showed up at Hurchalla’s home near Stuart to seize the truck and kayaks, both gifts from her famous sister, deceased former Clinton US Attorney General Janet Reno.
But Tuesday’s four-and-a-half-hour hearing was about the big money, and to figure out which Hurchalla-owned assets would be accessible by Lake Point in its attempt to collect the judgment. The hearing centered on a total of roughly $90,000 in now-frozen accounts at Bank of America and TD Ameritrade.
A dozen supporters had gathered on the sidewalk of the courthouse at lunch time to protest the hearing with signs calling Hurchalla a “shero” and a First Amendment fighter.

Inside, however, the “shero” was accused of trying to shift assets after the February verdict.
Loeb told Circuit Court Judge William Roby that Hurchalla and her husband James, a retiree from Pratt & Whitney, went to BOA after the jury found her liable for tortious interference and changed the signature card for their accounts at the bank.
Both Hurchallas testified – James for nearly three hours and Maggy for one – they filed a new signature card not because they wanted to make their account exempt from seizures but because they couldn’t find the original card.
Problem is: The box they marked on the signature card when they picked the status of the account could make that money available to Lake Point.
The Hurchallas claimed they followed the directions of bank employees. Maggy claimed they were “defrauded” by the bank but she didn’t sue because, she said: “I don’t sue everybody.”
Loeb scoffed and asked her how she, an expert in complicated land use legislation, could claim not being able to fill out her signature card properly.
The 77-year-old Hurchalla, meanwhile, said she lives off her social security checks and a pension plan, both of which are exempt from seizure.
She told the court she worked for money for the last time in 2012, when she lent her voice to a character in an episode of The Simpson, incidentally one where Bart goes to trial and is found not guilty. She said she made $2,000, which she donated to a charity. She said she gets a few dollars every so often from residuals.

Roby said he plans to rule on the accounts’ availability to Lake Point within two weeks as Lake Point continues its search for more of Hurchalla’s assets.
Outside the courtroom, Loeb said: “I think it went very well,” and declined to comment further.
Hurchalla’s lawyers didn’t reply to an email requesting their comment.
Hurchalla was found personally liable by a Martin County jury for her actions as the county negotiated with Lake Point on the use of a large plot of land owned by the company near Lake Okeechobee.
Owned partly by Miami billionaire George Lindemann Jr., the land was being used a mine then was to be used as reservoir for lake runoff, and possibly as water source for larger cities south, including West Palm Beach.
During negotiations in 2013, however, Lake Point noticed the county became increasingly uncooperative, and contends Hurchalla secretly emailed County Commissioners Anne Scott, Sarah Heard and Ed Fielding with tips and techniques on how to torpedo the pending deal.
For several years, Hurchalla and the commissioners attempted to keep their email exchanges hidden from Lake Point, a clear violation of the state’s constitutionally guaranteed government in the sunshine.
Scott, Heard and Fielding were charged criminally last year and face a trial in December. Heard is running for a fifth term on the commission. Fielding isn’t running again. Scott, a former judge from Chicago, was voted out.

1 Comment

  1. Gary Drake

    Multi M$ liberal activist hiding funds and lying. GEE go figure.

    Reply

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