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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 471)

Democrats Finally Prepare Subpoena For Trump’s D.C. Hotel Documents

Westlake Legal Group 5da9c0942000008e1150616a Democrats Finally Prepare Subpoena For Trump’s D.C. Hotel Documents

House Democrats have threatened to subpoena the General Services Administration if the agency does not hand over records related to the approval of President Donald Trump’s Washington, D.C., hotel by next Wednesday.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has repeatedly requested documents related to the GSA’s approval of the hotel, which occupies space in a federal building owned by the agency. The GSA has sent over some documents, but withheld others, including the legal memos and the hotel’s monthly profit reports and profit statements.

Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.), chair of the subcommittee in charge of public buildings, requested those withheld documents be handed over by Oct. 23 in a letter sent to GSA Administrator Emily Murphy on Thursday. If the agency fails to produce those documents the committee will compel them by issuing a subpoena.

The committee’s pursuit of these documents is part of its investigation into the president’s conflicts of interest, his potential violations of the Constitution’s emoluments clauses, which bar him from receiving payments or benefits from governments beyond his salary, and whether GSA followed proper procedures in approving the lease for the hotel.

The Trump Organization was awarded a lease to build a luxury hotel inside the historic Old Post Office building on Pennsylvania Avenue in 2014. The Trump International Hotel opened in October 2016, just weeks before Trump would win the presidential election.

His victory posed a sudden problem for the new hotel. The lease contained a clause forbidding any “elected official of the Government of the United States” to “be admitted to any share or part of this Lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom.” Additionally, the Constitution’s emoluments clauses forbid executive branch officers from receiving any payment or benefit from foreign governments and both federal and state governments aside from their salary.

GSA lawyers could have investigated this issue during the 2016 election, but they didn’t. Instead, they waited until after Trump won the election to begin considering the problems posed by his continued ownership of the lease, according to an inspector general report. GSA lawyers then decided they would completely ignore the Constitution’s emoluments clauses in their review of legal problems posed by the president owning a federal lease.

The hotel has since become a symbol of the Trump administration’s corruption. It has attracted lobbyists, foreign governments, corporate executives and Republican political campaigns to spend lavishly. And the president personally benefits from all payments to the hotel.

Read the letter to the GSA below:

This story has been updated with more background on the hotel.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Florida police search for ‘sweet-talking duo’ accused of drugging, robbing tourist at casino

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6095883529001_6095861694001-vs Florida police search for ‘sweet-talking duo’ accused of drugging, robbing tourist at casino Greg Norman fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc article 9f57224e-cb16-5b9e-9889-cdba37612e93

Police in Florida were on the hunt Friday for two women suspected of drugging a tourist at a casino and then robbing him of a $15,000 Rolex watch and $1,000 in cash.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office released surveillance footage this week hoping the public can help identify the “sweet-talking duo” involved in the incident at the Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood on Sept. 13. Investigators say the pair first approached the victim while he was playing poker at around 2 a.m.

HARD ROCK HOTEL UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN NEW ORLEANS COLLAPSES, KILLING 2

“While at the slot machines the security video shows the blonde-haired suspect pouring a substance into the victim’s drink and then handing it to him,” police said in a statement. “Immediately after taking it, he said he felt drugged and had difficulty moving.”

CASINO ROBBERY SUSPECT DIES AFTER SHOOTOUT WITH POLICE

The victim and the two women then left the casino after one of them helped him get a cab, the Broward Sheriff’s Office says.

They all were taken to the Sleep Inn & Suites in Dania Beach – and the victim told investigators that he lost consciousness after entering a room there.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

“When he woke up in the morning he discovered $1,000 and a gold and silver Rolex worth approximately $15,000 were missing,” police said.

One woman is described as having blonde hair with a tattoo on her upper chest, who was last seen wearing a black blouse and pants. The other suspect, police say, was wearing a leopard jumpsuit.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6095883529001_6095861694001-vs Florida police search for ‘sweet-talking duo’ accused of drugging, robbing tourist at casino Greg Norman fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc article 9f57224e-cb16-5b9e-9889-cdba37612e93   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6095883529001_6095861694001-vs Florida police search for ‘sweet-talking duo’ accused of drugging, robbing tourist at casino Greg Norman fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc article 9f57224e-cb16-5b9e-9889-cdba37612e93

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Why Is a Secretive Billionaire Buying Up the Cayman Islands?

One humid Tuesday in July, I summited the highest point on Grand Cayman, an eight-story dump known affectionately by the locals as Mount Trashmore. From the top of the foul mound — a collection of almost every piece of garbage discarded on the island since it went all-in on financial services in the 1960s — I imagined I could just make out the enshrouded beach estate of the secretive investor Kenneth Dart.

I had been on Grand Cayman for more than a week, but I was no closer to speaking with him than when I first arrived. The heir to a famously private foam-container dynasty and a reclusive businessman in his own right, Mr. Dart apparently hasn’t spoken to the press since 1993. Though he has lived on Grand Cayman for 25 years and is widely believed to be the biggest private landholder on the archipelago, almost nobody I interviewed was sure if they had seen him. Residents compared him to Batman, Howard Hughes, a Bond villain and both Warren and Jimmy Buffett.

Mr. Dart lives on Seven Mile Beach, in an old hotel — the entire hotel — once known as the West Indian Club. He acquired the property in 1994 after renouncing his United States citizenship, a tax dodge so audacious it inspired federal legislation. Though Cayman was initially a refuge for the financier, Mr. Dart, who is thought to be 64, has taken to his adopted home with zeal. With his fortune and his company, Dart Enterprises, he has increasingly come to define the islands’ future.

In 2007, he opened a major development, a sprawling mix of retail and entertainment venues called Camana Bay, and began amassing a portfolio of high-end properties. His list now includes the Ritz-Carlton, the Yacht Club and a new Kimpton resort. In February, his group proposed a $1.5 billion “iconic skyscraper” that would rival the Eiffel Tower and the Burj Khalifa of Dubai.

As a place to conduct business, Cayman’s appeal is obvious. The country, a British Overseas Territory, levies no income or corporate taxes, and, since the 1960s, it has become one of the world’s most sophisticated banking centers. While Cayman was once a shady place to stash illicit cash — a reputation cemented by the 1991 John Grisham novel “The Firm” and a subsequent Tom Cruise thriller — it has long since moved aggressively upmarket, courting institutional investors, private equity and trading firms seeking to minimize taxes and bureaucracy. As of 2016, according to one analysis, it domiciled 60 percent of global hedge fund assets.

But for his base of operations, Mr. Dart has chosen an existentially vulnerable piece of land. At 76 square miles, Grand Cayman is roughly the size of Brooklyn and is, on average, only seven feet above sea level. In 2004, Ivan, a Category 5 hurricane, submerged most of the island. The damage was valued at close to $3 billion. Bodies buried in beach cemeteries floated out to sea. Animals escaped their enclosures, and, to this day, rewilded chickens roam the islands.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_162867393_68d51d81-bf9b-48b0-b332-03ff9a434f13-articleLarge Why Is a Secretive Billionaire Buying Up the Cayman Islands? Tax Shelters Hurricanes and Tropical Storms High Net Worth Individuals Global Warming Dart, Kenneth B Corporate Taxes Cayman Islands Banking and Financial Institutions

Seven Mile Beach.CreditCarter Johnston for The New York Times

“Problem is, even if hurricanes don’t get any more prevalent, they’ll get stronger,” said James Whittaker, a Caymanian who is a former banker and regulator turned clean energy entrepreneur. “If sea-level rise is a foot, well, that means that a Category 1 now is going to do the same damage that a Category 4 used to do.” Even if Cayman built enough infrastructure to survive the rising water, he added, “The problem is insurance. You’ll never be able to insure the country anymore.”

As I stood atop Mount Trashmore, looking out at the crystalline water, I wondered what Mr. Dart thought about the country’s vulnerability to rising seas. Or if, like me, he had quickly fallen into a tropical reverie — a feeling that nothing could possibly go wrong on this exclusive stretch of paradise. Would a wildly successful investor like him buy up so much of a country that was really doomed to disappear?

Until the 1960s, when the first banking laws were put in place to attract international capital, the Cayman Islands was a backwater, with an economy dependent on seamen who would send their remittances back home. When a Cambridge-trained lawyer named William Walker arrived in 1963, he described the place as having “cows wandering through Georgetown, only one bank, only one paved road, and no telephones.” The population was just over 8,000, and the mangrove-covered island was swarming with mosquitoes.

The banks moved in first, then the accounting and law firms. Seven Mile Beach, previously undeveloped, became an international tourist attraction for both divers and money managers. By the end of the 1990s, the jurisdiction had established itself firmly as a leading global banking center, and today financial services accounts for over half of its economy.

Proponents of the Cayman business model argue that its benefits accrue to all of the islands’ citizens, who can boast of having one of the highest gross domestic products per capita in the world. Foreign capital, much of it in the form of duties and fees, helps fund schools and infrastructure. Regulations direct employers to give special consideration to Caymanians for jobs and require that Caymanians own shares in local businesses. But many islanders complain of a two-tiered system. Caymanians get jobs, but are then passed over for promotions. The best-paid positions often go to highly educated expatriates, who make up just under half the resident population of about 66,000.

“They say this is a trickle-down economy,” said Roy Bodden, a historian of the Cayman Islands and former member of the Legislative Assembly. “So, here’s my argument. Why should it be a trickle for us? Why aren’t we holding the cup?” Mr. Bodden has been a vocal critic of the islands’ unchecked development and what he sees as the disenfranchisement of the island population. “You talk about the American dream, well, we had a Caymanian dream,” he said. The way he told the story, the elites had sold the country out.

When Kenneth Dart relocated to Grand Cayman, his secretiveness and colorful business dealings aroused local suspicion. In 1993, his home in Sarasota, Fla., burned to the ground in an arson that was never fully explained. After Mr. Dart renounced his ties to America a few months later, he moved first to Belize, whose government in 1995 proposed to the State Department a Belizean consulate in Sarasota, where Mr. Dart and his family could live, presumably tax-free. The idea was never seriously considered, and Mr. Dart settled on Grand Cayman.

It is a closely guarded secret how much of the three-island territory — Little Cayman and Cayman Brac hover just to the northeast of the big island — Mr. Dart and his subsidiaries own. Many islanders take it for granted that he is the biggest private landholder on the islands, and some suspect he owns more land than the government. (A spokeswoman for Dart Enterprises said the company would not comment on its investment decisions.)

After the 2008 financial crisis, the Cayman economy contracted. But Mr. Dart picked up the slack. In addition to resorts, office buildings and residential properties, his company began planning and building major municipal infrastructure projects like tunnels and roads, reinvigorating long-held concerns on Grand Cayman that Mr. Dart and his subsidiaries controlled too much of the island. A 2015 audit of the government’s land management scolded ministers for allowing Dart subsidiaries such free rein.

Some speculate Mr. Dart is private because he fears for his safety. As the scion of a Michigan family business, Dart Container, that has long dominated the polystyrene foam market (it also makes plastic Solo cups and other iconic food service products), Mr. Dart was born into a significant fortune. But he also had a talent for trading, making lucrative investments over the decades in financial firms, biotech companies, Russian public vouchers and steeply discounted sovereign debt in Greece and Argentina, among many other companies and countries. Some investments made him enemies. His yacht was armored to withstand torpedo fire, one of his two brothers, Tom, told Bloomberg News in 1995. When he first moved to the islands, he could be seen flanked by bodyguards.

In 2014, Mr. Dart stepped down as president of his family’s container business and has, according to comments made in 2015 by the Dart Enterprises chief executive, Mark VanDevelde, become more focused on real-estate development and conservation. He also oversees an extensive nursery on the island, where he collects native and endemic trees and plants.

According to materials shared or published by Dart Enterprises, the company has invested more than $1.5 billion in the Cayman Islands, with another $1 billion in the development pipeline. This does not include the estimated price tag for the skyscraper. Bloomberg puts Mr. Dart’s net worth at $5.8 billion. “They’ll tell you they have ‘patient capital,’” Mr. Whittaker said. “That’s the word they like to use. Which means ‘I’m going to throw two, three billion dollars in the ground and my kids or my grandkids will reap the rewards once it gets built.’”

Mr. Dart’s vision for Cayman is comprehensive. In a 2018 video presented at the local Chamber of Commerce, his company outlined a building program that would connect the white sands of Seven Mile Beach to a protected bay known as the North Sound, incorporating extensive landscaped pedestrian parks and revamped roadways — in effect, designing a whole town. It would include major new residential developments and offices, in addition to yet another five-star resort on a stretch of beach that abuts the billionaire’s residence.

The plans reminded me of a game of Monopoly — if a player purchased all of the fanciest properties and packed them with houses and hotels for money managers. When I went to the island, I made an effort to book one of the few Seven Mile Beach hotels that Mr. Dart doesn’t own; halfway through my stay, I read an announcement in the local paper that he had bought it.

Improbably enough, Mr. Dart’s most audacious investment involves Mount Trashmore. Haphazardly established in the 1960s, the massive garbage pile was never trenched or lined, and no one knows what might be leaking from the dump into the ground. Parts of the mountain sometimes spontaneously combust, requiring evacuation of local businesses and a nearby Dart-developed private school. Since Mr. Dart started building on Grand Cayman, the dump has been an obstacle, impeding new development. His company has proposed to cap Mount Trashmore and build a new waste-to-energy facility to dispose of future garbage, which it would manage for the next 25 years, at an estimated cost of nearly half a billion dollars.

The arrangement — the heir to a disposable-cup fortune offering to clean up an entire country’s garbage — seemed remarkable to me, but the Caymanians I spoke with didn’t bat an eye. Except when the stink wafted down the mountain; then they batted their eyes a lot, because they were watering.

For three weeks before arriving on the island, I corresponded with a Dart company spokeswoman, who made it cordially clear that an interview with Mr. Dart was a non-starter. At one point, she offered to consider written questions and present them to Dart executives. I asked what Mr. Dart saw from a real-estate perspective in Cayman. “Not everyone who moves to a place they love invests in it so heavily,” I wrote. I also asked about the dump and the risks of global warming. As far as I knew, Mr. Dart was neither a climate skeptic nor a denier, and yet he continued to acquire significant parcels of a country that was, topographically speaking, one of the most vulnerable on earth.

Nick Robson, the founder of the Cayman Institute, a nonprofit organization that has advocated better long-term planning on the island, says Cayman is nowhere near prepared for rising seas and extreme weather. We met on the terrace at a Westin resort, which, like many developments on Seven Mile Beach, is on an elevated concrete slab. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he said, predicted that sea levels would rise by roughly one meter by the end of the century.

Some people minimize the risk, he said: “‘Well, O.K., that’s three-and-a-quarter feet. Oh, no big thing.’ Sorry, we’re seven feet above sea level, for the most part. That’s halfway up! When you model a hurricane with storm surge, you can have 15 feet of storm surge, and then you’re looking at 18½ feet above normal sea level.” (None of the many elected officials I contacted would agree to be interviewed on the record, but Suzette Ebanks, the chief information officer, sent a three-page response to written questions that highlighted several initiatives, including “environmental impact assessments for major capital projects” and a focus on transitioning to renewable energy.)

Mr. Robson said he also worried that Cayman’s economic reliance on financial services wasn’t sustainable. “It’s almost a post-colonial dispensation,” he said, describing the sometimes uneasy relationship that has always existed between Cayman, Britain and the international community.

After the 2008 financial crisis, the political will to reform systems that facilitate tax avoidance reached a high. In 2010, the United States passed the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which requires foreign financial institutions to identify American citizens who are account holders and report that to the Treasury. Since 2013, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has been creating an international framework that aims to reduce corporate tax avoidance, particularly for large multinational and Internet-based firms.

Meanwhile, Britain has promised to adopt a set of stringent European Union policies designed to combat money laundering and terrorism. If fully implemented, protectorates like Cayman would be expected to create public registers of company owners and provide access to the names of the beneficiaries of trusts. The registers could be accessible not only to law enforcement but also to those with “legitimate interest,” including investigative journalists and nongovernmental organizations. “What’s in the wind now is potentially existential for the financial services industry in Cayman,” said Alex Cobham, chief executive of the Tax Justice Network, a watchdog group. “I think it does start to look like it could be a perfect storm for Cayman.”

If the colonial period was Cayman’s opening act, and financial services its middle, it seemed to me that Mr. Dart was quietly preparing for Cayman’s possible finale: as an upscale tax domicile and tourist attraction for the global ultra-wealthy who could afford to come and go from an existentially imperiled island.

Justin Howe, a Dart group executive vice president, talked up the proposed skyscraper’s benefits at a recent economic forum. “We’re looking to bring in more high net worth, ultrahigh net worth, potentially even more billionaires,” he said during a question-and-answer session. “They take virtually nothing out of the economy and they put massive amounts into the economy, so we think that’s what a five-, five-plus-star resort has the potential to do.”

The plan is to build the tower set back from Seven Mile Beach, in the middle of the Camana Bay development. Whatever might happen with international tax legislation or volatile financial markets, the building would be a hedge of sorts, positioned to bring in capital and withstand the rising ocean.

“Is everything he does great? I won’t say everything he does is great,” Mr. Whittaker said of Mr. Dart, after showing me a map of Hurricane Ivan’s devastation. “I think in overall net benefit, yes, he’s been a net benefit to the island. We need to get one or two more like him, and we’ll be insulated from world shocks.”

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Erdogan says Turkey will take necessary steps against Trump’s ‘disrespectful’ letter

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Why Is a Secretive Billionaire Buying Up the Cayman Islands?

One humid Tuesday in July, I summited the highest point on Grand Cayman, an eight-story dump known affectionately by the locals as Mount Trashmore. From the top of the foul mound — a collection of almost every piece of garbage discarded on the island since it went all-in on financial services in the 1960s — I imagined I could just make out the enshrouded beach estate of the secretive investor Kenneth Dart.

I had been on Grand Cayman for more than a week, but I was no closer to speaking with him than when I first arrived. The heir to a famously private foam-container dynasty and a reclusive businessman in his own right, Mr. Dart apparently hasn’t spoken to the press since 1993. Though he has lived on Grand Cayman for 25 years and is widely believed to be the biggest private landholder on the archipelago, almost nobody I interviewed was sure if they had seen him. Residents compared him to Batman, Howard Hughes, a Bond villain and both Warren and Jimmy Buffett.

Mr. Dart lives on Seven Mile Beach, in an old hotel — the entire hotel — once known as the West Indian Club. He acquired the property in 1994 after renouncing his United States citizenship, a tax dodge so audacious it inspired federal legislation. Though Cayman was initially a refuge for the financier, Mr. Dart, who is thought to be 64, has taken to his adopted home with zeal. With his fortune and his company, Dart Enterprises, he has increasingly come to define the islands’ future.

In 2007, he opened a major development, a sprawling mix of retail and entertainment venues called Camana Bay, and began amassing a portfolio of high-end properties. His list now includes the Ritz-Carlton, the Yacht Club and a new Kimpton resort. In February, his group proposed a $1.5 billion “iconic skyscraper” that would rival the Eiffel Tower and the Burj Khalifa of Dubai.

As a place to conduct business, Cayman’s appeal is obvious. The country, a British Overseas Territory, levies no income or corporate taxes, and, since the 1960s, it has become one of the world’s most sophisticated banking centers. While Cayman was once a shady place to stash illicit cash — a reputation cemented by the 1991 John Grisham novel “The Firm” and a subsequent Tom Cruise thriller — it has long since moved aggressively upmarket, courting institutional investors, private equity and trading firms seeking to minimize taxes and bureaucracy. As of 2016, according to one analysis, it domiciled 60 percent of global hedge fund assets.

But for his base of operations, Mr. Dart has chosen an existentially vulnerable piece of land. At 76 square miles, Grand Cayman is roughly the size of Brooklyn and is, on average, only seven feet above sea level. In 2004, Ivan, a Category 5 hurricane, submerged most of the island. The damage was valued at close to $3 billion. Bodies buried in beach cemeteries floated out to sea. Animals escaped their enclosures, and, to this day, rewilded chickens roam the islands.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_162867393_68d51d81-bf9b-48b0-b332-03ff9a434f13-articleLarge Why Is a Secretive Billionaire Buying Up the Cayman Islands? Tax Shelters Hurricanes and Tropical Storms High Net Worth Individuals Global Warming Dart, Kenneth B Corporate Taxes Cayman Islands Banking and Financial Institutions

Seven Mile Beach.CreditCarter Johnston for The New York Times

“Problem is, even if hurricanes don’t get any more prevalent, they’ll get stronger,” said James Whittaker, a Caymanian who is a former banker and regulator turned clean energy entrepreneur. “If sea-level rise is a foot, well, that means that a Category 1 now is going to do the same damage that a Category 4 used to do.” Even if Cayman built enough infrastructure to survive the rising water, he added, “The problem is insurance. You’ll never be able to insure the country anymore.”

As I stood atop Mount Trashmore, looking out at the crystalline water, I wondered what Mr. Dart thought about the country’s vulnerability to rising seas. Or if, like me, he had quickly fallen into a tropical reverie — a feeling that nothing could possibly go wrong on this exclusive stretch of paradise. Would a wildly successful investor like him buy up so much of a country that was really doomed to disappear?

Until the 1960s, when the first banking laws were put in place to attract international capital, the Cayman Islands was a backwater, with an economy dependent on seamen who would send their remittances back home. When a Cambridge-trained lawyer named William Walker arrived in 1963, he described the place as having “cows wandering through Georgetown, only one bank, only one paved road, and no telephones.” The population was just over 8,000, and the mangrove-covered island was swarming with mosquitoes.

The banks moved in first, then the accounting and law firms. Seven Mile Beach, previously undeveloped, became an international tourist attraction for both divers and money managers. By the end of the 1990s, the jurisdiction had established itself firmly as a leading global banking center, and today financial services accounts for over half of its economy.

Proponents of the Cayman business model argue that its benefits accrue to all of the islands’ citizens, who can boast of having one of the highest gross domestic products per capita in the world. Foreign capital, much of it in the form of duties and fees, helps fund schools and infrastructure. Regulations direct employers to give special consideration to Caymanians for jobs and require that Caymanians own shares in local businesses. But many islanders complain of a two-tiered system. Caymanians get jobs, but are then passed over for promotions. The best-paid positions often go to highly educated expatriates, who make up just under half the resident population of about 66,000.

“They say this is a trickle-down economy,” said Roy Bodden, a historian of the Cayman Islands and former member of the Legislative Assembly. “So, here’s my argument. Why should it be a trickle for us? Why aren’t we holding the cup?” Mr. Bodden has been a vocal critic of the islands’ unchecked development and what he sees as the disenfranchisement of the island population. “You talk about the American dream, well, we had a Caymanian dream,” he said. The way he told the story, the elites had sold the country out.

When Kenneth Dart relocated to Grand Cayman, his secretiveness and colorful business dealings aroused local suspicion. In 1993, his home in Sarasota, Fla., burned to the ground in an arson that was never fully explained. After Mr. Dart renounced his ties to America a few months later, he moved first to Belize, whose government in 1995 proposed to the State Department a Belizean consulate in Sarasota, where Mr. Dart and his family could live, presumably tax-free. The idea was never seriously considered, and Mr. Dart settled on Grand Cayman.

It is a closely guarded secret how much of the three-island territory — Little Cayman and Cayman Brac hover just to the northeast of the big island — Mr. Dart and his subsidiaries own. Many islanders take it for granted that he is the biggest private landholder on the islands, and some suspect he owns more land than the government. (A spokeswoman for Dart Enterprises said the company would not comment on its investment decisions.)

After the 2008 financial crisis, the Cayman economy contracted. But Mr. Dart picked up the slack. In addition to resorts, office buildings and residential properties, his company began planning and building major municipal infrastructure projects like tunnels and roads, reinvigorating long-held concerns on Grand Cayman that Mr. Dart and his subsidiaries controlled too much of the island. A 2015 audit of the government’s land management scolded ministers for allowing Dart subsidiaries such free rein.

Some speculate Mr. Dart is private because he fears for his safety. As the scion of a Michigan family business, Dart Container, that has long dominated the polystyrene foam market (it also makes plastic Solo cups and other iconic food service products), Mr. Dart was born into a significant fortune. But he also had a talent for trading, making lucrative investments over the decades in financial firms, biotech companies, Russian public vouchers and steeply discounted sovereign debt in Greece and Argentina, among many other companies and countries. Some investments made him enemies. His yacht was armored to withstand torpedo fire, one of his two brothers, Tom, told Bloomberg News in 1995. When he first moved to the islands, he could be seen flanked by bodyguards.

In 2014, Mr. Dart stepped down as president of his family’s container business and has, according to comments made in 2015 by the Dart Enterprises chief executive, Mark VanDevelde, become more focused on real-estate development and conservation. He also oversees an extensive nursery on the island, where he collects native and endemic trees and plants.

According to materials shared or published by Dart Enterprises, the company has invested more than $1.5 billion in the Cayman Islands, with another $1 billion in the development pipeline. This does not include the estimated price tag for the skyscraper. Bloomberg puts Mr. Dart’s net worth at $5.8 billion. “They’ll tell you they have ‘patient capital,’” Mr. Whittaker said. “That’s the word they like to use. Which means ‘I’m going to throw two, three billion dollars in the ground and my kids or my grandkids will reap the rewards once it gets built.’”

Mr. Dart’s vision for Cayman is comprehensive. In a 2018 video presented at the local Chamber of Commerce, his company outlined a building program that would connect the white sands of Seven Mile Beach to a protected bay known as the North Sound, incorporating extensive landscaped pedestrian parks and revamped roadways — in effect, designing a whole town. It would include major new residential developments and offices, in addition to yet another five-star resort on a stretch of beach that abuts the billionaire’s residence.

The plans reminded me of a game of Monopoly — if a player purchased all of the fanciest properties and packed them with houses and hotels for money managers. When I went to the island, I made an effort to book one of the few Seven Mile Beach hotels that Mr. Dart doesn’t own; halfway through my stay, I read an announcement in the local paper that he had bought it.

Improbably enough, Mr. Dart’s most audacious investment involves Mount Trashmore. Haphazardly established in the 1960s, the massive garbage pile was never trenched or lined, and no one knows what might be leaking from the dump into the ground. Parts of the mountain sometimes spontaneously combust, requiring evacuation of local businesses and a nearby Dart-developed private school. Since Mr. Dart started building on Grand Cayman, the dump has been an obstacle, impeding new development. His company has proposed to cap Mount Trashmore and build a new waste-to-energy facility to dispose of future garbage, which it would manage for the next 25 years, at an estimated cost of nearly half a billion dollars.

The arrangement — the heir to a disposable-cup fortune offering to clean up an entire country’s garbage — seemed remarkable to me, but the Caymanians I spoke with didn’t bat an eye. Except when the stink wafted down the mountain; then they batted their eyes a lot, because they were watering.

For three weeks before arriving on the island, I corresponded with a Dart company spokeswoman, who made it cordially clear that an interview with Mr. Dart was a non-starter. At one point, she offered to consider written questions and present them to Dart executives. I asked what Mr. Dart saw from a real-estate perspective in Cayman. “Not everyone who moves to a place they love invests in it so heavily,” I wrote. I also asked about the dump and the risks of global warming. As far as I knew, Mr. Dart was neither a climate skeptic nor a denier, and yet he continued to acquire significant parcels of a country that was, topographically speaking, one of the most vulnerable on earth.

Nick Robson, the founder of the Cayman Institute, a nonprofit organization that has advocated better long-term planning on the island, says Cayman is nowhere near prepared for rising seas and extreme weather. We met on the terrace at a Westin resort, which, like many developments on Seven Mile Beach, is on an elevated concrete slab. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he said, predicted that sea levels would rise by roughly one meter by the end of the century.

Some people minimize the risk, he said: “‘Well, O.K., that’s three-and-a-quarter feet. Oh, no big thing.’ Sorry, we’re seven feet above sea level, for the most part. That’s halfway up! When you model a hurricane with storm surge, you can have 15 feet of storm surge, and then you’re looking at 18½ feet above normal sea level.” (None of the many elected officials I contacted would agree to be interviewed on the record, but Suzette Ebanks, the chief information officer, sent a three-page response to written questions that highlighted several initiatives, including “environmental impact assessments for major capital projects” and a focus on transitioning to renewable energy.)

Mr. Robson said he also worried that Cayman’s economic reliance on financial services wasn’t sustainable. “It’s almost a post-colonial dispensation,” he said, describing the sometimes uneasy relationship that has always existed between Cayman, Britain and the international community.

After the 2008 financial crisis, the political will to reform systems that facilitate tax avoidance reached a high. In 2010, the United States passed the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which requires foreign financial institutions to identify American citizens who are account holders and report that to the Treasury. Since 2013, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has been creating an international framework that aims to reduce corporate tax avoidance, particularly for large multinational and Internet-based firms.

Meanwhile, Britain has promised to adopt a set of stringent European Union policies designed to combat money laundering and terrorism. If fully implemented, protectorates like Cayman would be expected to create public registers of company owners and provide access to the names of the beneficiaries of trusts. The registers could be accessible not only to law enforcement but also to those with “legitimate interest,” including investigative journalists and nongovernmental organizations. “What’s in the wind now is potentially existential for the financial services industry in Cayman,” said Alex Cobham, chief executive of the Tax Justice Network, a watchdog group. “I think it does start to look like it could be a perfect storm for Cayman.”

If the colonial period was Cayman’s opening act, and financial services its middle, it seemed to me that Mr. Dart was quietly preparing for Cayman’s possible finale: as an upscale tax domicile and tourist attraction for the global ultra-wealthy who could afford to come and go from an existentially imperiled island.

Justin Howe, a Dart group executive vice president, talked up the proposed skyscraper’s benefits at a recent economic forum. “We’re looking to bring in more high net worth, ultrahigh net worth, potentially even more billionaires,” he said during a question-and-answer session. “They take virtually nothing out of the economy and they put massive amounts into the economy, so we think that’s what a five-, five-plus-star resort has the potential to do.”

The plan is to build the tower set back from Seven Mile Beach, in the middle of the Camana Bay development. Whatever might happen with international tax legislation or volatile financial markets, the building would be a hedge of sorts, positioned to bring in capital and withstand the rising ocean.

“Is everything he does great? I won’t say everything he does is great,” Mr. Whittaker said of Mr. Dart, after showing me a map of Hurricane Ivan’s devastation. “I think in overall net benefit, yes, he’s been a net benefit to the island. We need to get one or two more like him, and we’ll be insulated from world shocks.”

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At least 33 dead in vape epidemic; CDC says black market THC products playing ‘major role’

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6093709358001_6093703431001-vs At least 33 dead in vape epidemic; CDC says black market THC products playing 'major role' fox-news/health/respiratory-health/stop-smoking fox news fnc/health fnc article Alexandria Hein 5989088e-5df5-5f5a-a19b-8031dabfc04d

At least 33 deaths across 24 states have now been linked to vape-related illnesses, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that illegal or black market THC products are largely fueling the outbreak, but stopping short of identifying these products as the main cause.

Of the victims in 1,479 confirmed EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury) cases, 849 of them were able to identify which products they used before falling ill. Of those cases, 78 percent reported using THC-containing products, with or without nicotine-containing products, in the three months prior to developing symptoms.

JUUL STOPS SALE OF FRUITY, DESSERT-FLAVORED E-CIGARETTES

“We do know that THC is present in most of the samples tested by the [Food and Drug Administration] to date, and most patients report a history of using THC-containing products,” the CDC said in an update on Thursday. “The latest national and state findings suggest products containing THC, particularly those obtained off the street or from other informal sources (e.g. friends, family members, illicit dealers), are linked to most of the cases and play a major role in the outbreak.”

The CDC recommended that consumers stop using THC-containing e-cigarette or vape products, and encouraged users to step away from all products altogether, since there isn’t one specific ingredient or product linked to all cases.

“At this time, FDA and CDC have not identified the cause or causes of the lung injuries in these cases, and the only commonality among all cases is that patients report the use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products,” the agency said. “No one compound or ingredient has emerged as the cause of these illnesses to date, and it may be that there is more than one cause of this outbreak. Many different substances and product sources are still under investigation. The specific chemical exposure(s) causing lung injuries associated with e-cigarette product use, or vaping, remains unknown at this time.”

CDC GIVES VAPING-RELATED LUNG ILLNESSES A NAME

Last month, police seized nearly $4 million worth of illegal THC vaping cartridges from a Minnesota residence as law enforcement looks to crack down on the black market products linked to illnesses.

“We currently have Minnesota children who are on mechanical ventilation due to this vaping injury,” Daniel Hudd, assistant commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Public Health, said. “So far, our investigation is correlating these injuries to illegally purchased THC vape cartridge.”

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The youngest patient reported by the CDC to have fallen ill is just 13. Last week, an Arizona mother spoke out about finding her 16-year-old daughter unconscious in bed, and only when she was placed on life support did she find out that the teen had been vaping for the last two years.

“Devastated as a parent, I feel like a total failure,” said Betty Ford, whose daughter Samantha is likely to be at Phoenix Children’s Hospital for the next five weeks, to Fox 10 Phoenix.

Ford hopes her daughter’s ICU stay helps her friends stay away or quit vaping.

“I’m thinking that maybe seeing her this way might wake them up and that it can happen,” she told the news outlet.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6093709358001_6093703431001-vs At least 33 dead in vape epidemic; CDC says black market THC products playing 'major role' fox-news/health/respiratory-health/stop-smoking fox news fnc/health fnc article Alexandria Hein 5989088e-5df5-5f5a-a19b-8031dabfc04d   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6093709358001_6093703431001-vs At least 33 dead in vape epidemic; CDC says black market THC products playing 'major role' fox-news/health/respiratory-health/stop-smoking fox news fnc/health fnc article Alexandria Hein 5989088e-5df5-5f5a-a19b-8031dabfc04d

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Massive elephant found dead on top of squished crocodile

A fight between an elephant and a crocodile in Africa ended in both creatures dying. But what shocked onlookers is that the massive mammal landed on top of the crocodile, flattening the reptile in the process.

A photo of the bizarre sight was posted to Kafunta Safari’s Facebook page and it was deemed an “extremely strange situation,” with authorities called in to investigate.

“The park authorities were called (to investigate death of elephant and eventually remove the tusks) and they suspect the elephant was injured and the croc was following it, when the elephant collapse while trying to climb the bank of the river,” Kafunta wrote on Facebook. “Squashing the croc. Very strange. The park authorities didn’t find any trace of human foul play in regards to the elephant’s death.”

Westlake Legal Group luangwa-kafunta-safaris-zambia-wildlife-travel Massive elephant found dead on top of squished crocodile fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 1c25dd01-9f1e-5829-803a-f42fd739871f

(Credit: Kafunta Safaris)

ENORMOUS 30-FOOT CROCODILE TERRORIZED DINOSAURS 210M YEARS AGO

The incident, which took place at Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park, was discovered by Kafunta’s guide, Andrew Mwanza, on Oct. 8.

Although elephants outweigh crocodiles by a considerable margin, the dangerous reptiles have been known to attack young elephants or those that are sick or injured. In 2010, National Geographic captured rare photos of a Nile crocodile attacking an adult elephant.

Westlake Legal Group kufanta Massive elephant found dead on top of squished crocodile fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 1c25dd01-9f1e-5829-803a-f42fd739871f

(Credit: Kafunta Safaris)

Nile crocodiles can reach up to 16 feet in length and weigh up to 500 pounds.

“From the pictures I’ve seen, the croc was a small subadult or small adult, and I highly doubt it was trying to take an injured adult elephant down. That seems like a lot of work for a smaller predator, and not in its favor,” Marisa Tellez, co-founder of the Crocodile Research Coalition, said in an interview with LiveScience.

Westlake Legal Group luangwa-safaris-kafunta-zambia-tourism-wildlife Massive elephant found dead on top of squished crocodile fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 1c25dd01-9f1e-5829-803a-f42fd739871f

(Credit: Kafunta Safaris)

“Of course, you will always have more bold individuals that will take more than they bargained for,” Tellez added. “I am also wondering if this may have been a young female defending her nest from an elephant possibly trampling all over it.”

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Westlake Legal Group luangwa-kafunta-safaris-zambia-wildlife-travel Massive elephant found dead on top of squished crocodile fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 1c25dd01-9f1e-5829-803a-f42fd739871f   Westlake Legal Group luangwa-kafunta-safaris-zambia-wildlife-travel Massive elephant found dead on top of squished crocodile fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 1c25dd01-9f1e-5829-803a-f42fd739871f

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Mollie Hemingway rips ‘double standard’ among Dems on Trump’s Syria policy

Westlake Legal Group Mollie-Maxine-Waters-FOX-AP Mollie Hemingway rips 'double standard' among Dems on Trump's Syria policy Julia Musto fox-news/world/world-regions/turkey fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/person/barack-obama fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 19d86a19-268b-55ad-ae37-ae5b5fecae07

President Trump has been subjected to criticism about his handling of Turkey’s invasion of Syria partially because of the view that the United States has to be involved in the Middle East, said Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway on Friday.

Democrats who praised President Obama’s troop withdrawal in the past — like Rep. Maxine Waters of California — have slammed President Trump for his decision to pull around 1,000 troops from a border zone between the Kurdish fighters in Syria and the Turkish military.

SYRIA CEASE-FIRE IN QUESTION AFTER FIGHTING, SHELLING REPORTED

Appearing on “Fox & Friends” with host Brian Kilmeade, Hemingway said that “if there weren’t double standards, there would be no standards at all for a lot of people.”

But, she noted, “thinking back about the history of this really speaks to how difficult it is for presidents to not be interventionists in the area.”

“Well, there’s a lot of consistency in Washington D.C. about the idea that if there’s a conflict going on in the region, in the Middle East, the U.S. has to be involved,” she said, “And that has been pushed, even though the American people don’t support such an idea.”

She added that while U.S. citizens were “willing” to support going into Iraq, they believe that American wars should “be fought in our interest and that we should have a clear path to entry and exit.”

Hemingway said that when “you just have people pressuring to intervene,” once involved “it seems almost impossible to extricate yourselves.”

“But the American people I think have been clear really for a long time now, that they want to have a better way of fighting wars, prioritizing where we’re involved, and making sure that we have a clear way out as well,” she said.

Hemingway also noted that President Obama benefitted during elections from his opposition to the way in which the United States was fighting the Iraq war.

“People were largely supportive of going in there, but they did not like the way that we were fighting or how it turned into a nation-building exercise,” she said. “So, he removes troops from Iraq. He says 16 times: ‘I will not put boots on the ground in Syria.'”

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“And yet, here we are many years later having to remove troops from Syria because he did end up getting pressured into doing just that,” she told Kilmeade, noting how difficult it’s been for Trump to pull back from the region.

Westlake Legal Group Mollie-Maxine-Waters-FOX-AP Mollie Hemingway rips 'double standard' among Dems on Trump's Syria policy Julia Musto fox-news/world/world-regions/turkey fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/person/barack-obama fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 19d86a19-268b-55ad-ae37-ae5b5fecae07   Westlake Legal Group Mollie-Maxine-Waters-FOX-AP Mollie Hemingway rips 'double standard' among Dems on Trump's Syria policy Julia Musto fox-news/world/world-regions/turkey fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/person/barack-obama fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 19d86a19-268b-55ad-ae37-ae5b5fecae07

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Houston Astros’ Zack Greinke mocked for social anxiety disorder, depression before ALCS Game 4: report

New York Yankees fans watching their team take on the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series were reportedly mocking Astros starting pitcher Zack Greinke before the game Thursday night.

Fans were taunting Greinke’s struggles with social anxiety disorder and depression about 20 minutes before the first pitch, according to NJ.com. The fans reportedly also aimed chants at Greinke’s mother and called the pitcher by his first name, “Donald.”

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It’s unclear what the fans were allegedly chanting, but an NJ.com reporter tweeted that it had something to do with prescription medications. NYPD officers had to eject at least one fan before the game started.

Greinke told reporters after his five-strikeout performance in the win that he didn’t hear the chants.

AARON JUDGE’S STRUGGLES AMPLIFY YANKEES’ LACKLUSTER PERFORMANCE IN ALCS

Astros outfielder Josh Reddick was shocked to hear about the chants after the game, according to NJ.com.

“This is the first time I’ve heard of it,” Reddick said. “I don’t know if low class is the right word, but [Yankees fans] are hectic. They definitely are harsh here in this ballpark. They support their team as loud as they can. They’re going to show up.”

Westlake Legal Group MLB-Zack-Greinke3 Houston Astros' Zack Greinke mocked for social anxiety disorder, depression before ALCS Game 4: report Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/mlb/new-york-yankees fox-news/sports/mlb/houston-astros fox-news/sports/mlb-postseason fox-news/sports/mlb fox news fnc/sports fnc article 84e234bd-627f-5799-88e8-0c52fc457714

Houston Astros starting pitcher Zack Greinke (21) delivers against the New York Yankees during the first inning of Game 4 of baseball’s American League Championship Series, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

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The Astros were already upset with Yankees fans going into Game 4. Reddick and manager A.J. Hinch were annoyed with fans throwing trash onto the field in Game 3. Hinch said he would take his team off the field if it happened again.

Westlake Legal Group MLB-Zack-Greinke3 Houston Astros' Zack Greinke mocked for social anxiety disorder, depression before ALCS Game 4: report Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/mlb/new-york-yankees fox-news/sports/mlb/houston-astros fox-news/sports/mlb-postseason fox-news/sports/mlb fox news fnc/sports fnc article 84e234bd-627f-5799-88e8-0c52fc457714   Westlake Legal Group MLB-Zack-Greinke3 Houston Astros' Zack Greinke mocked for social anxiety disorder, depression before ALCS Game 4: report Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/mlb/new-york-yankees fox-news/sports/mlb/houston-astros fox-news/sports/mlb-postseason fox-news/sports/mlb fox news fnc/sports fnc article 84e234bd-627f-5799-88e8-0c52fc457714

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Sacha Baron Cohen Nails The Problem With Zuckerberg’s Freedom Of Expression Defense

Westlake Legal Group 5da98f752000000912506110 Sacha Baron Cohen Nails The Problem With Zuckerberg’s Freedom Of Expression Defense

Sacha Baron Cohen used a metaphor involving a restaurant owner and neo-Nazis to tear into Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s claim that the social media platform champions freedom of expression.

The British actor and comedian posted a scathing thread on Twitter in which he dubbed Zuckerberg’s speech at Georgetown University on Thursday “disingenuous” and reminded the billionaire that “he is not the government, but the owner of a private business and not subject to the 1st Amendment!”

“If he owned a fancy restaurant and 4 neo-Nazis came goose-stepping into the dining room and were talking loudly about wanting to kill ‘Jewish scum,’ would he serve them an elegant eight-course meal? Or would tell them to get the f**k out of his restaurant? It’s the same thing,” added the “Borat” star.

“He has every legal right, indeed a moral duty, to tell them to get the f**k out of his restaurant,” concluded Cohen, who last year pranked numerous political figures with his satirical Showtime series “Who Is America?” and most recently portrayed real-life Mossad agent Eli Cohen in Netflix’s thriller “The Spy.”

Zuckerberg’s address also drew criticism from Bernice King, the daughter of the late civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. Zuckerberg in his speech alluded to the role of freedom of expression in the civil rights movement.

“I’d like to help Facebook better understand the challenges #MLK faced from disinformation campaigns launched by politicians,” King replied, a reference to Facebook’s refusal to block ads featuring false statements from politicians. “These campaigns created an atmosphere for his assassination,” she added.

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