Wachula, Florida -- Finding a job is a tough task for thousands of Floridians. So when word a new company was coming to a small Bay area town, people had hope.
Rural Hardee County gave the company millions of dollars, but as the 10 News Investigators discovered, a group of powerful politicians without any company or product already had their own plans for that money.
Tampa State Representative Jamie Grant told 10 News he wasn't interested in an interview after we tracked him down in Tallahassee, after he avoided us for weeks in Tampa.
Grant's company, "LifeSync Technologies," pitched a bold plan to county officials: give them the $2.6 million, and LifeSync would create a cloud-based medical records firm and bring jobs to Hardee County. Public records indicate Grant had powerful allies, including State Representative Jason Broduer from Orlando, State Representative Ben Albritton of Hardee County, and his brother, Hardee County insurance agency owner Joe Albritton.
Critics of the LifeSync deal suggest what is offensive is that it appears the deck was stacked, because the head of the county agency that issued the grant is Jim See. See just happens to be uncle to the Albritton brothers, and shares office space with Joe Albritton.
But the truth legislators involved in the company and Hardee County don't want anyone to hear about is a scathing report from the auditor general, which said the $2.6 million should never have been given to LifeSync. It cited several reasons:
* The company wasn't legally qualified to get the money
* The company didn't offer proof it was capable of making it all happenThere wasn't a plan in place to see how LifeSync was using the money.
* The auditor general also contends the $2 .6 million didn't bring economic benefits to Hardee County...
If you work for a young web company, you probably think your office is pretty cool. Maybe it has a pool table or even a roof terrace. Pah! Give it 37 years and, according to engineering company Arup, our office blocks will contain working farms, produce their own energy, be linked together by suspended green walkways and sections of each floor will be removable, upgradable and replaceable. Intersting article on Smart Cities that looks into some of the key innovations by Shell and IBM.
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