Chuck Rabin's Herald story today about the most recent lawsuit against the county by the Homestead Air Base Developers, Inc. or HABDI, has an abbreviated history of the development group's shady dealings.
If you want a more in-depth look at the no-bid contract the county awarded HABDI to build a commercial airport on the base, this 1996 feature story by former New Times staffer Jim DeFede neatly recounts the 5:40 a.m. commission vote that granted HABDI the lease, where none other than the late Art Teele prognosticated: "This has been artfully drafted as a major piece of litigation that will go on as long as this lease goes on."
DeFede surmised: "Throughout the thirteen-hour meeting, not one commissioner vouched for or made an impassioned plea in support of [HABDI member Carlos] Herrera or any of his partners. Instead, both during and after the meeting, commissioners were more concerned about how well taxpayers would be protected should Herrera and the others bungle this project or go bust."
Apparently not concerned enough: the commercial airport plan was killed by the federal government, first under Clinton and again under Bush. But HABDI is now seeking compensation — from taxpayers — for being dropped from the lease. -Emily Witt
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