Last Call – A prime-time reading of what’s happening in Florida politics.
Attorney General Ashley Moody announced on Monday that his office had won a $20 million judgment and lifetime ban against a consortium of shady moving companies.
All of the companies involved in the settlement were owned by Ohad Guzi: Eight moving companies in Florida, operating under names such as All USA Van Lines, Moving Group and Top Movers.
According to the attorney general, the companies advertised professional moving services across the country performed by well-trained employees in company-owned trucks. In reality, they employed untrained contractors using rented van trucks and outsourced delivery services to third parties without informing customers.
Companies also regularly offered low prices for services before charging significantly more after collecting their customers’ belongings.
“This deceptive large-scale moving plan victimized people across the United States, many here in Florida, by adding excessive fees to the quoted price, advertising professional moving services that the movers did not provide, falsely promising safe handling of household goods and hiding bad reviews using a variety of misleading company names. I am grateful to my consumer protection team for stopping these outrageous practices and holding the moving companies accountable,” Moody said.
After a week-long trial, Circuit Judge Carol Lisa Phillips in Broward County found the defendants engaged in numerous deceptive practices. She ordered Guzi’s companies to pay $21.7 million — $5.2 million for consumer restitution and $16.5 million in penalties for violating Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act , the Florida Moving Law, and the Federal Law Governing Interstate Movers.
Additionally, she permanently banned Guzi and affiliated businesses from engaging in any services related to moving to Florida.
The Fiorentino group earned about $760,000 in lobbying fees last quarter, according to new lobbyist compensation reports.
The company run by Marty Fiorentino represented 66 clients in all, including 59 in the Legislative Assembly where the six-person team earned approximately $420,000.
The Fiorentino Group raised an additional $340,000 from its executive branch clients.
Florida Politics estimates lobbying compensation based on the average number of companies listed per client in their compensation reports. Contracts are reported in increments of $10,000 up to $50,000.
The company’s largest customer in the Legislative Assembly was Flagler Health+, which paid between $30,000 and $40,000 last quarter. He shipped another $35,000 to the company for executive lobbying — he also topped that report.
The Fiorentino Group is one of Northeast Florida’s leading companies, a fact reflected in its client profile, which includes many of the region’s largest companies and associations.
Other Jacksonville-area interests represented by the company include Duval County Public Schools, the Florida East Coast Railroad, and UF Health Jacksonville. Each paid the firm $15,000 for legislative lobbying work and an additional $15,000 for executive lobbying work.
The Fiorentino Group also represents some national companies, such as the PGA Tour and AT&T. Local governments are also a big part of the roster – TFG is the contract team for Clay, Flagler and St. Johns county governments.
In addition to Fiorentino, the company’s Q1 roster included Davis bean, Melissa Braude, Joseph Mobley, Marc Pinto and Shannan Schuessler.
According to the Fiorentino Group Reports total compensation ranges, the company earned at least $500,000 last quarter with a cap of $1 million. Their median estimate for the first quarter exceeds their average quarterly earnings for 2021, which reached around $620,000.
Florida lobbyists and lobbying firms faced a May 15 deadline file compensation reports for the period from January 1 to March 31. Compensation reports for the second quarter are due to the state on August 14.
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—“DeSantis Named to Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People Listvia A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics
—“As Joe Biden focuses on decision to forgive student loan, voter anxiety risesvia Andrew Restuccia of The Wall Street Journal
—“Florida won’t stop raising insurance rates without fighting climate changevia Jason Garcia of Seeking Rents
—“Governor DeSantis plans to award $100 million in housing assistance for ‘hometown heroes’via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics
—“Florida senators denounce state management of property insurancevia Laura Cassels of the Florida Phoenix
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—“‘Ghost’ judge candidate shields records to protect confidentiality of former lawmaker’s contacts” by Annie Martin of the Orlando Sentinel
—“Gas prices in Florida drop a little but still hover around $4.50 a gallonvia Scott Powers of Florida Politics
—“How a French bank captured Haitivia Matt Apuzzo, Constant Méheut, Selam Gebrekidan and Catherine Porter of The New York Times
quote of the day
“We don’t want to be in a situation where hundreds of thousands of people lose their policies and get dumped on citizens. There will be things in there that I think will be very positive for individual owners. »
— Govt. Ron DeSantison property insurance reforms.
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