A month after Gov. Rick Scott took a secret hunting trip to the King Ranch in Texas last year, he faced a big decision.
A seat had come open on the board that oversees Florida's efforts on the multibillion-dollar project to repair damage to the Everglades caused by agriculture. To fill that position, Scott picked a corporate executive named Mitchel A. "Mitch" Hutchcraft.
Hutchcraft's major qualification for a seat on the board of South Florida Water Management District: He is the vice president in charge of the King Ranch's Florida agricultural acreage.
"That's astounding," said David Guest of the Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, which has repeatedly sued the agency over its protection of Lake Okeechobee and other water-related issues.
Scott's announcement of Hutchcraft's appointment in March 2013 made no mention of what the governor's staff called a fundraising trip the month before. Scott's trip wasn't listed anywhere on his official calendar, nor is there any mention of King Ranch donations from that period in his campaign finance reports.
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