One of the Republican Party's biggest donors -- a Florida real estate
developer who apparently is facing a federal investigation over the use
of special tax districts for his retirement complex -- hired a lobbyist
in the last quarter of 2012 for the purpose of "contacting the federal
government" about the districts.
The Villages, owned by developer H. Gary Morse and his family, had not previously hired a lobbyist at the federal level, according to OpenSecrets.org records. But the new lobbying report shows that it paid $30,000 during the quarter to Cardenas Partners, led by Al Cardenas, the Cuban-born two-time chairman of the Florida Republican Party. Cardenas has done state-level work in the past for the Villages.
An overwhelmingly white, mostly Republican retirement community 90 miles north and inland from Tampa Bay, the Villages cuts through parts of three counties. Sometimes referred to as Disneyland for retirees, it includes dozens of golf courses and about 50,000 homes.