Environmentalist Faces 4.3 Million Dollar Fine for Her Advocacy Efforts

by | Nov 18, 2019 | Press

Originally published by WGCU Media by Mike Kiniry & Julie Glenn on November 18, 2019

Back in September Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld a 2018 ruling against an environmental activist who lives in Stuart which found that she interfered in a contract between Martin County and the owners of a rock quarry called Lake Point Restoration. The case claims she unduly influenced Martin County Commissioners using false information, and that she did it via personal email, all of which added up to her acting with malice toward Lake Point. That means Maggy Hurchalla – who also spent two decades as a Martin County Commissioner herself, and is the sister of former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno – still faces a 4.3 million dollar fine for her advocacy efforts.

She has now petitioned the Florida Supreme Court to consider her case, but no decision has been reached yet. Environmental and free speech advocates are concerned such a precedent could chill citizens’ ability to question their government. Hurchalla joins us by phone from Stuart to get us up to speed on her case. We’re also joined by Howard Simon, former Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida; and K.C. Schulberg, Executive Director of Calusa Waterkeeper.


Listen to the Interview