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Martin County Settles with Rock Mine for $12 Million

November 14, 2017 - 6:30pm
Martin County Court House, Stuart
Martin County Court House, Stuart

Correction and Apology:  This story includes a link to a September 28

story which reported that the State Attorney was investigating potential

criminal violations arising from the public records litigation between

Lake Point and Martin County. In the original version of this story, we

referenced the September 28 story and said that “A criminal investigation

of Heard, Hurchalla and others by the grand jury … is currently under

way.”  We have revised this story to delete Ms. Hurchalla’s name because

we have no information that she is the target of the investigation and we

did not intend to imply otherwise. We regret the error and apologize

to Ms. Hurchalla. On November 29 and 30, we reported on the arrests

of Commissioner Ed Fielding and former Commissioner Anne Scott, who

are charged with criminal public records law violations, and on the charging

of Commissioner Sarah Heard with a non-criminal public records violation. 


It's over. After four and a half years of litigation and more than $5 million spent on outside attorneys -- plus a grand jury investigation of the actions by four current and previous commissioners -- the Martin County Commission announced a settlement Tuesday with Lake Point. 

The mining and water restoration project near Indiantown gets $12 million and an apology, among other conditions, to drop its breach of contract case against Martin County.

In a twist first alluded to in the South Florida Water Management District's Lake Point settlement on Aug. 23, Lake Point will sell around 400 of its 2,000 acres near Lake Okeechobee to Martin County for $12 million, the first $1 million due within 30 days. The county plans to borrow the money on a 10- or 15-year note. 

Both Commissioners Ed Ciampi and Sarah Heard called the settlement "the darkest day" in county government. Newly elected Ciampi called the previous commission's actions that led to the lawsuit under Heard's leadership "reckless government overreach;" Heard proclaimed, "We did nothing wrong."

The settlement does not end the case for former county commissioner and activist Maggy Hurchalla. Hurchalla, who would have had to pay $​1,111.11 a day to participate in the mediation, opted against settlement, preferring to take her chances in court. She is represented by attorney Virginia Sherlock.  

A criminal investigation of Heard and others by the grand jury for actions relating to the Lake Point operation is currently under way.

Barbara Clowdus is editor and publisher of Martin County Currents.


Oh, Martin County has people that will question and fight. They are just not elected to anything.

At least Martin County has people who question and fight.

You just have to love the die hard Sarah/Maggie/Ginny/Donna/Ann/Ed fans who just won't put the Kool-Aid cup down. This was an unnecessary lawsuit brought on by the actions of the Conservation Alliance and their cohorts. Do the quick math, $12M settlement, $5M in legal fees, $4M in interest (assuming they get a decent rate for 10 years), loss of environmental fees, fixed haul fee for 50 years, and Lake Point is off the hook for $40M worth of improvements to help the river. So to even imply that to question and fight was appropriate here is asinine. It's about time the citizens of Martin County wake up and realize these people just need to go. Sarah and Ed should resign immediately but I'm sure they won't. Hopefully the State's Attorney gives them their walking papers!

Problem is they fight w/ our money and never win . The previous Commission got us into 15 lawsuits and they lost everyone . Might be a good idea to be on the right side once in awhile .

Twenty million does not scare politicians. It ain't their money. Being County Commissioner best paying gig ANY of these pondscum sucking assholes have ever had. To be fair, that goes for the entire state. Why, next thing you know we will hear bout sexual impropriety. Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Sarah Heard, 20 million of tax payer money wasted? Sounds like something went wrong. You should resign immediately.

A lot of that "government overreach" going on today. $$$$$$$$$ makes them fly straight.

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