Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Monkey Farms Sued By Sam Tommie For Violation Of Zoning Code

CLEWISTON, FL. -- Seminole Tribe member Samuel Tommie is taking area monkey breeding facilities to court in an attempt to stop their activities alleging the facilities are a nuisance and violate the zoning code for agricultural use.

Tommie filed a case in May against BC US LLC, Panther Tracts LLC and Primate Products LLC

Tommie alleges that his home on the Big Cypress Reservation in Hendry county is affected by the activities at the breeding facilities and interferes with his cultural practices in the Big Cypress wilderness area.

John O.Sutton of Miami, attorney for BC US has responded asking the court to dismiss the case or have Tommie provide a more definite statement of his claim against the company. Joseph M. Hendry II of Lake Placid representing Panther Tracts and Primate Products is also asking the court for a more definite statement of Tommie's claims. Hendry also is asking for a stay of the proceeding pending a judgment in this week's case by three plaintiff's against Hendry County alleging the agricultural zoning (A2) on the properties does not permit breeding of thousands of wild monkey primates.

Attorney Hendry also is asking for a dismissal of the case under Florida's Right To Farm Act which protects agricultural activities from nuisance suits. Hendry claims monkeys are farm products and alleges the monkey breeding activities have been going on for 17 years.

Marcos E. Hasbun of Tampa is representing Tommie in Hendry case number 2015 CA 252. Circuit Judge James D. Sloan is the presiding judge.

More stories on Monkey Farming Controversy

Photo: Wikipedia

Monday, June 27, 2016

Monkey Farm Trial This Week - Opens Door For Elephants, Rhinos?

1000 Elephants May Be Allowed To Breed In Hendry County Says Planner

LABELLE, FL. -- The Animal Legal Defense Fund, an advocacy organization for animals, is continuing its fight to revoke permits for two new primate breeding facilities SoFlo Ag and Panther Tracts, headed to court this morning, June 27 at 9 a.m. to argue against Hendry County on behalf of three concerned residents.

The lawsuit seeking injuctive relief and a judgment brought by Carol Grey, William "Billy" Stephens, and Keely Cinkota alleges Hendry County officials’ granting of permits in 2012 and 2013 was a violation of Florida’s open government law, the “Sunshine Law” and seeks to prevent the breeding of thousands of monkeys near residential areas in western and southern Hendry County.

The three plaintiffs, through attorney Justine Thompson Cowan, of Cowan Consulting for Non-Profits in Orlando and attorneys Christopher Berry and Kelsey Eberly from the Animal Legal Defense Fund in California contend Hendry County was required to hold public meetings before approving the development of the two monkey breeding facilities. They argue county planning department staff made changes to county zoning codes to allow wild animal breeding in agricultural areas where no ordinance existed before, and did not ever give the public or nearby land owners any notice of these changes to county zoning law.

1000 Elephants? Tigers, Rhinos For Hendry County?

At trial this morning former associate county planner Sarah Catala, now running for a Hendry County Commission seat testified how the county determined that any animal can be bred on farms here, as well as current County Planner Margaret Emblidge who said because of the definition her office and county attorney Mark F. Lapp devised in October of 2015 for animal breeding, any type of animal in any number can be bred on farms in Hendry county with no notice whatsoever required to be given to nearby property owners or the public.

Emblidge told attorney Cowan there is no incompatible use of any animal on agricultural land in Hendry county. She responded when Cowan asked if rhinos or tigers, or even elephants could be raised on Hendry breeding farms without any hearings or public notice.

The non-human primate breeding facilities would potentially breed thousands of macaque monkeys to be sold to the biomedical research industry for vivisection (animal testing), are slated to be built in areas zoned for “agriculture,” usually previously reserved for raising domesticated animals and growing crops.

“The public has a right to know what is going on in their backyards,” said Stephen Wells, Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director. “Florida’s Sunshine Law was designed to prohibit exactly the kind of back-room dealings that led to Hendry County’s approval of biomedical primate breeding facilities in a traditional agricultural neighborhood without any public notice whatsoever.”

Interview with Plaintiffs' attorney Christopher Berry:

ALDF contends not only are the proposed facility conditions cruel and inhumane for the monkeys being bred, but there are dangers associated with importing exotic animals to the U.S. Possession of primates like macaques is regulated by federal and state agencies due to the threat of disease carried by these animals, including Ebola, Herpes B, tuberculosis, and parasites.

Circuit Judge James D. Sloan has disallowed any argument in court however regarding diseases from monkeys.

The trial will continue today and tomorrow at the Hendry County Courthouse, 3rd floor. The county is represented by attorneys Edward Alexander Dion of Fort Lauderdale and Mark Lapp. Dion specializes in government law and has practiced 37 years.

Links: Complaint (Amended) Filed With Court - Stephens, Grey, and Cinkota v. Hendry County, Case No. 2014-CA-633

UPDATE: The trial has ended and the parties are to provide proposed orders to Judge Sloan after which he will issue an order on the case in a few weeks. A second case against monkey breeding companies is also pending in Sloan's court.  See Sam Tommie Sues Monkey Farms

More previous stories on Hendry's Monkey Farm controversy

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Friday, June 24, 2016

Free Movies Sponsored By D.A.V.

LABELLE, FL. -- Commander Robert Schall, of Chapter 144 Disabled American Veterans dropped by the Family Film Fest last Tuesday to give their sponsorship check. 

Tuesday at 1:00 pm & 3:00 p.m. showings. July 5 Alexander, and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, July 12 The Peanuts Movie

The movies are completely free thanks to business sponsors like the D.A.V.  There is a snack area for those that would like to buy candy, and popcorn, the money earned goes to Real Life Children’s Ranch.

The 35th Summer Movie Fest is located 135 Fraser Avenue, in the LaBelle Assembly of God chapel, Everyone is welcomed. Groups of 25 or over please call to reserve you a place. Contact 675-0900 or e-mail

Pictured: Command Robert Schell and Pastor Clifford Avery

Tom Davanzo And Bob Fedyna Guilty In Biodiesel Fraud

$40 Million Scheme Defrauds Investors And Government

FORT MYERS, FL. -- Thomas Davanzo, of Estero, Florida, and Robert Fedyna, of Naples, Florida, pleaded guilty today for their participation in a multi-state scheme to defraud biodiesel buyers and U.S. taxpayers by fraudulently selling biodiesel credits and fraudulently claiming tax credits, announced Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III of the Middle District of Florida.

Davanzo and Fedyna operated several shell companies that were used to facilitate the scheme. As part of the scheme, Davanzo and Fedyna operated entities that purported to purchase renewable fuel, on which credits had been claimed and which was ineligible for additional credits, produced by their co-conspirators at Gen-X Energy Group (Gen-X), headquartered in Pasco, Washington, and its subsidiary, Southern Resources and Commodities (SRC), located in Dublin, Georgia. They then used a series of false transactions to transform the fuel back into feedstock needed for the production of renewable fuel, and sold it back to Gen-X or SRC, allowing credits to be claimed again. This cycle was repeated multiple times.

In addition, both Davanzo and Fedyna laundered the proceeds of the scheme through various shell entities. Davanzo and Fedyna established bank accounts in the names of shell entities. Funds were cycled through these shell companies’ bank accounts to perpetuate the fraud scheme and conceal its proceeds.

Davanzo and Fedyna also directed and participated in the generation of false paperwork designed to create the fa├žade that the renewable identification number (or RIN, a serial number used to track biodiesel credits) created and claimed by co-conspirators were legitimate. The paperwork included false invoices from Gen-X or SRC to shell entities, which purported to show sales of renewable fuel, false invoices from shell entities to Gen-X and SRC, which purported to show the purchase of feedstock and false bills of lading, which purported to show the transportation of fuel and feedstock by tanker truck.

From March 2013 to March 2014, the co-conspirators generated at least 60 million RINs that were based on fuel that was either never produced or was merely re-processed at the Gen-X or SRC facilities. The co-conspirators received at least $42 million from the sale of these fraudulent RINs to third parties. In addition, Gen-X received approximately $4,360,724.50 in false tax credits for this fuel.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, the Environmental Protection Agency -Criminal Investigation Division, and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Sara C. Sweeney and Megan Kistler and Trial Attorney Adam Cullman of the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice.

Dana Mark Lilley Dies At 57

Dana Mark Lilley, age 57, of Chicago, passed away June 23, 2016, in his brother's home with his loving family surrounding him.

He was born Apr. 10, 1959, in Salisbury, MD, to William S. and Jeanette Jones Lilley. Mr. Lilley married Miguel Caballero. He worked as a District Manager for many years.

Dana is survived by his loving husband; Miguel Caballero of Chicago, his caring parents; William and Jeanette Lilley, Maryland, his adoring brother David Michael Lilley, Sr and his wife Lisa of LaBelle, his caring sister; Deborah J. Moretti and her husband Rick of Felda. Many nieces, nephews, extended family members and friends.

Dana was a wonderful husband to Miguel, loving and caring son, brother, uncle and a delightful friend who will be greatly missed by everyone who loved him.

Celebration of Dana's life will be held Saturday, June 25, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. in Akin-Davis Funeral Home with Deacon Sam Lee officiating. Cremation arrangements are being handled by Akin-Davis Funeral Home – LaBelle.