Many people would find it troubling that an environmental group, ostensibly dedicated to eliminating pollution in the Florida Everglades, would have a known polluter as one of it’s former chairmen and current board of directors member.
The Everglades Foundation has done just that.
Paul Tudor Jones, founder of Tudor Investment Corporation, a private asset management company and hedge fund, with an estimated net worth of $4.6 billion, has served as former chairman and current member of the Board of Directors for the foundation. In sharp contrast to his public persona of a philanthropic environmentalist however, Mr. Jones has been both a polluter and environmentally irresponsible, and not just once.
The first incident for Paul Tudor Jones It happened in the time between 1987 and 1989, while the hedge fund king was building his 6,250 acre “wildlife preserve”/hunting retreat in Maryland. Jones had hired marine engineer William Ellen to develop the property to Jones’ specifications, including an enormous hunting lodge, as many as 10 ponds, and roads throughout the property. According to Ellen, Paul Tudor Jones II, “decided early on not to pay any attention“[emphasis added] to the need for federal wetlands and anti-pollution permits in order to speed up completion of the project. The results of the $15 million project were that 86 acres of tidal and non-tidal wetlands were filled in. Ellen seemingly took on the role of fall guy for Jones, receiving 2 years in jail for the violations to the federal Clean Water Act. In May of 1990, Paul Tudor Jones pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor criminal charge for violating the Clean Water Act by negligently and illegally filling the Tudor Farms wetlands. He paid a $1 million fine and $1 million restitution to the government in a plea bargain. He served no jail time.
A second incident occurred in 1996, when water samples taken from Paul Tudor Jones’ Islamorada estate in the Florida Keys demonstrated coliform microbes in levels far exceeding state standards – as high as 680 colonies per millimeter compared to the state allowable level limit of 70. Though spokespersons for Save our Everglades tried to shrug off the water test results by questioning the veracity of the samples, documents demonstrate that the samples were taken both a half mile off Jones’ property as well as directly next to it. A re-sampling of the waters near the Islamorada estate is scheduled for the near future in order to determine current levels of coliform microbes. Jones’ estate is situated upon a private cove, with a pier and sea wall in order to provide protection for his 61ft. yacht.
Though the studies completed in 1996 indicated that the microbe levels were potentially due to leaking septic tanks from the estate, another potential source was suggested by an unidentified Florida Marine Patrol officer, who stated that if the sewage holding tank on a moored yacht was emptied, it might account for significantly increased coliform microbe colonies in the waters in and around Jones’ Islamorada estate. The Federal Water Pollution Control Act, better known as the Clean Water Act prohibits dumping such untreated sewage into the navigable water of the United States – defined by the act as ANY waters within 3 miles of shore, whether public or private waters.
Most recently, the hedge fund billionaire purchased a mansion in Palm Beach, Florida called Casa Apava. The oceanfront property is situated on just under 6 acres of lush lawn, including 420 feet of oceanfront. The purchase was made just one week after Jones had spoken on the increasing income inequality in America. The property boasts some impressive features, including a tennis court, two pools, and a massive sprinkler system to distribute hundreds of gallons of water onto the property’s lush lawns and landscaping. No word yet on the phosphorus content of the fertilizer being used to maintain the mansion’s grounds.
Environmental groups such as the Everglades Foundation and Save our Everglades have spent millions of dollars lobbying to spend taxpayer dollars to purchase land for unclear environmental efforts, as well as lobbying efforts to fight those that they identify as polluters, while Paul Tudor Jones stands at the helm of these organizations. If these groups have a polluter masked as an environmentalist as a member of their leadership, perhaps it is time that a closer look was taken at the motivations of the Everglades Foundation.