Ron Book Has Made $1 Million Lobbying This Year; Lincoln Diaz-Balart Got Rich Off Genting

It's only May, but South Florida super-lobbyist Ron Book is already having one hell of a year in Tallahassee. This week, lobbyists filed their reports for 2012's first quarter and since January, Book has already topped $1 million in fees. Who's paying him all that cash? Along with every other city in Broward and Dade, he's raked in big paydays from AT&T -- which fought to change a tax rule -- and from the West Flagler Kennel Club, which helped kill a bill to add three resort casinos to Florida.

Book's not the only local lobbyist having a good 2012. Malaysian giant Genting threw big money at former Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart in its losing bid to bringing a casino to downtown Miami.

Book is one of three lobbyists to report more than $1 million in earnings in the first three months of 2012. (The others are Ballard Partners, which has offices in five cities, and Tally's Southern Strategy Group.)

Book's single biggest payday came from A Place From Mom, a Seattle-based company that refers seniors to assisted living homes. It's not clear what they were lobbying for in Tally this year, but apparently it was worth $60,000.

There's no mystery about Book's second biggest client, West Flagler Kennel Club. Along with other pari-mutuels, they fought successfully to kill the bill to bring a massive new casino to downtown Miami; they spent $50,000 with Book.

The company on the losing end of that fight, Genting, didn't hold back its own lobbying fees. The firm spent $75,000 with Diaz-Balart's lobbying group, Western Hemisphere Strategies, plus another $75K with Foley & Lardner, a Tallahassee firm.

Here are Book's biggest spenders. (Bear in mind that almost 100 other clients also spent $10,000 or more. Check out Book's full report here, and feel free to join Riptide in cursing yourself for not choosing a lobbying career.)

$50,000 or more
A Place for Mom
West Flagler Kennel Club, Inc

$30,000 or more
University of Miami
Public Health Trust-Jackson Memorial Hospital
Advocate Program, The
Carlisle Development Group
Florida Regional Councils Association
Miami Project/Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis
Miami-Dade County

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink