The Roman Catholic World

June 8th, 2010

by Marielena Montesino de Stuart

AVE MARIA STEWARDSHIP DISTRICT BOARD (town government) – Herbert Cambridge (who stepped down) is seated at the far left. © Copyright Marielena Montesino de Stuart

The Jackson Lab’s proposed move to Ave Maria appears to be nothing but a very expensive and aggressive real estate bailout– without the input of the citizens that will be most affected.  The citizens of Ave Maria.

So, during today’s almost three–hour meeting of the Ave Maria Stewardship Community District, I presented a series of questions to the AMSCD Board, which is the town governing authority in Ave Maria.

The AMSCD Board’s reaction in the face of scrutiny brings into question whether it has the ability to function with fairness and with due-process.  It also exposed the Board’s inability to provide basic, as well as critical information to the tax payers and residents of the District of Ave Maria.  These are taxpayers and residents who have no vote in this bizarre form of “taxation without representation” government called a “Special District”– which operates under a “specially crafted”  law in Ave Maria, Florida, and under the control of large landowners.  READ “Ave Maria:  A Town Without a Vote– Now and Forever.”

The potential move of The Jackson Lab could have a dramatic effect– including challenges to the infrastructure of Ave Maria.  During today’s meeting, the AMSCD would  not provide any answers about The Jackson Lab.   Instead, they referred the questions to Thomas Sansbury, Vice President of Barron Collier Companies.  Mr. Sansbury then passed out an informational handout about The Jackson Lab, from the Economic Development Council of Collier County– an entity that has no governing authority over the tax payers and residents of Ave Maria.

Where is the money going to come from if there are changes needed in the infrastructure, in order to accommodate The Jackson Lab?

What town in America  would allow such a radical change without demanding a participatory study of  infrastructure, services and environmental needs?

What about the moral impact on a town comprised overwhelmingly of Catholic families– given  The Jackson Lab’s involvement in “workshops” and “resources” for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research; however, it is alarming that the potential move of The Jackson Lab to Ave Maria has not been met with any public opposition from the Catholic faculty at Ave Maria University, nor from AMU students, or Ave Maria Town residents– who are predominantly Catholics.

The president of AMU actually thinks there would be very considerable benefits to the entire area (Naples Daily News 04/10/2010).

During today’s AMSCD Board meeting, a dramatic and significant resignation took place, when Herbert Cambridge stepped down as a member of the board.   Cambridge is a well-known civil rights activist and community leader, who resides in Naples.

Cambridge’s resignation followed a request that board members step down, due to  a consistent pattern of failing or refusing to answer questions about District matters,  since the Board’s first Public Hearing before the residents and property owners of Ave Maria– in August, 2008.

Today the Board refused to answer questions about The Jackson Lab and its impact on taxpayers, property owners and residents of Ave Maria, as well as other critical questions regarding Ave Maria District matters.

Here are some of Cambridge’s statements, as he announced his resignation:

 “When I’m asked to resign in an open public meeting, I think I’ve outlived my usefulness on that board.”

“I hope that I’ve done some good in the development of Ave Maria.”

“If we can find some way to improve the relationship between residents and council, I think that would be good.”

I commended Mr. Cambridge for setting the right example for the rest of the AMSCD Board, and thanked him for his service to Collier County.

The following are questions that I presented regarding The Jackson Lab:

Fred Coyle, the County Commission, and the Economic Development Council do not speak for the taxpayers in this District.   But what is the Ave Maria Stewardship Community District (AMSCD) saying regarding The Jackson Lab matter?

Ave Maria is in a high-risk fire zone.  The Jackson Lab is involved in activities that could create fires.  They already reported having a major fire in their Maine facility where 400,000 mutant mice were lost.

What measures will the Ave Maria Stewardship Community District take to prevent the Jackson Lab’s toxic waste—which may include dangerous diseases and chemicals– from becoming a hazard to the residents of Ave Maria—including contamination of waterways?

Ave Maria shares one ambulance and one fire truck with the town of Immokalee—which is a high crime area, with a much larger population than Ave Maria.   How will the AMSCD  improve our Emergency Medical Service and Fire Fighting capabilities—given the potential presence of The Jackson Lab?

Would the expansion of the EMS and fire fighting capabilities mean an added burden to the tax payers in the Ave Maria District?

What does the Jackson Lab mean for the pocket books of the citizens of this District?

The Ave Maria Stewardship Community District has been publicly silent, while the press covers the subject of The Jackson Lab on a daily basis.  Why?

CONFLICT OF INTEREST??? PAUL RONEY, Member of the Ave Maria Government Board and Monaghan’s CFO at Ave Maria University. © Copyright Marielena Montesino de Stuart

In the minutes of the March 2nd 2010 District meeting, a very important question was left out, which I posed to the Board and to Mr. Paul Roney–who is both  a member of the AMSCD Board and Monaghan’s Chief Financial Officer at Ave Maria University.

During the March 2nd, 2010 meeting I asked if there had been any changes in ownership of land in Ave Maria Town (which is in the AMSCD District and tax roll)—and  specifically, if Thomas S. Monaghan had sold any land in Ave Maria Town during 2009 and 2010.  I also specifically asked if said transaction had taken place through ANY of Monaghan’s business entities, including Nua Baile.   Mr. Roney responded, “NO.”

The press has since revealed that Mr. Monaghan carried out a transaction of land back to Barron Collier, so that the Jackson Lab could build on it and move to Ave Maria.  I then asked during today’s meeting if this means that Mr. Roney did not say the truth during the March 2nd, 2010  AMSCD  public board meeting?

So, I again addressed Mr. Roney during today’s meeting and asked when this land transaction took place?  — since there is no record  of this transaction / change of ownership in the Collier County Public Records.  Mr. Roney responded that he stands by his answer given during the March 2nd, 2010 meeting.

I asked the following question, regarding the hiring of a new Auditor for the Ave Maria Stewardship Community District:

Why doesn’t the document titled “Selection Instructions to  Proposers”  include the requirement that the new Auditor of the Ave Maria Stewardship Community District NOT have any affiliations with any of the following major landholders in the District?

Ave Maria Development

Barron Collier Companies

Thomas S. Monaghan, or any of his entities

Ave Maria University, or any entity related to Ave Maria University

I again expressed my concerns about the existence of too many business incestuous relationships in this District.

During a discussion about the increase in water rates, I  asked the following:

Given that AMSCD Board members are required to be residents of the state of Florida, I asked Mr. Paul Roney why he is not aware that Ave Maria Utility Water bills are sent monthly.   I questioned whether Mr. Roney lives in Michigan or in Ave Maria.  Mr. Roney responded that he did not know about the frequency of water bills because he is a renter in Ave Maria.

Towards the end of the meeting, the District’s lawyer (who conferenced by phone) offered five suggestions to the AMSCD Board.  The most egregious one was the second suggestion– that the AMSCD restrict who they give the right to appear or speak before the Board.

During today’s meeting as I pressed the Board for answers to critical questions regarding The Jackson Lab and other District matters, a resident of Ave Maria who identified himself on the public record as James Dudek, asked the Board to– “Call the Cops”– in an attempt to silence me.  This is yet another example of the hostile and fractured social environment inside Ave Maria, particularly evident when a resident attempts to question those in positions of leadership or authority.

For details regarding today’s meeting (June 8th, 2010) and other comments made by the public,  you may visit the  AMSCD website where they have offered to provide   the audio recording of these meetings (although it can take months for them to make these recordings available).

IMPORTANT UPDATE / NOTICE – June 15, 2010:   The AVE MARIA STEWARDSHIP COMMUNITY DISTRICT BOARD has done a disservice to the public by providing an INCOMPLETE RECORDING of the June 8, 2010 meeting, held in the town of Ave Maria. The availability of this incomplete recording was announced today, June 15, 2010. Why has the AMSCD edited the recording? It has left out important questions, answers and comments from the public and from members of the Board, including my question to Mr. Paul Roney concerning Mr. Monaghan’s land transaction in connection with The Jackson Lab, as reported by the press.

Mr. Roney’s answer is also missing, as well as Herbert Cambridge’s resignation statement. The minutes of the AMSCD meetings are generally abbreviated versions of the proceedings—so they cannot be relied upon.

Why is the District Board not providing full disclosure of these proceedings to the tax payers and to the general public?   

For the benefit of the public, here is the  UNEDITED audio recording of the June 8, 2010 Ave Maria Stewardship Community District Board Meeting, provided by Marielena Montesino de Stuart.

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Marielena Montesino de Stuart

You may read about Marielena Montesino de Stuart’s observations and opinions through RenewAmerica, USAToday, Poynter Online, Spero News, The Naples Daily News, Les Femmes-The Truth, Culture War Notes,  ProLife Blogs, The Wanderer, etc. 

TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION:  Ave Maria University + The Jackson Laboratory + Workshops and Resources for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research + Eugenics + Margaret Sanger + Tom Monaghan + Tom Golisano +  Nicholas J. Healy Jr., President of AMU + Barron Collier Companies + The Ave Maria Stewardship Community District.

Copyright © Marielena Montesino de Stuart. All Rights Reserved         

NOTICE TO READERS: Marielena Montesino de Stuart and  do not disparage anyone’s motives at Ave Maria, Ave Maria University, including the administrators, faculty, staff and students,  Ave Maria entities, Ave Maria Town, the residents and property owners in Ave Maria, Barron Collier Co., as well as anyone doing business in, with, and for Ave Maria and any of its entities.  Nothing contained in The Chronicles of Ave Maria© or Divine Comedy©, or anywhere on this blog/website questions the commitment of all involved to what they genuinely see as the best interests of Ave Maria, Ave Maria University, Ave Maria entities, Ave Maria Town and Barron Collier Co.  Marielena Montesino de Stuart and concede this.