David Wolkowsky: "God Wasn't On Duty One Day."


Last Tuesday the County Commission found itself once again debating development of offshore islands.  Local attorney Barton Smith read into the record, a letter from his client David Wolkowsky, who argued that his island, “Ballast Key,” was a man made island and should escape the restrictions imposed on natural islands [for example they are limited to one house per ten acres]. “I envision the creation on the island of a small campus to be operated by the University’s [of Miami] Rosenstiel School.”

Mr. Wolkowsky was not present. The Commission praised his intention to donate the island for scientific research and the usual debate went on about whether all offshore islands should come under the same zoning.

Then something totally unexpected happened:  The next day when we spoke with Mr. Wolkowsy at his home on Flagler Avenue he said he believed his island was a “natural island,” not a man made island, that he didn’t want any more construction to occur on the island, and as it turns out Barton Smith was not actually Mr. Wolkowsky’s attorney.

“Does the letter say it was a man made island?” inquired the 96-year old Wolkowsky, asking several times what else was in the letter that – strangely enough – he did not even have a copy of.  This peaked our curiosity.

Few debates have created as much controversy in the Keys as the push for de-regulation of offshore islands.  So far, intended development of Wisteria Island, the last desert island in Key West Harbor, has been on top of the list.  From a “wining and dining” City Commissioners scandal in 2007 to disguising a hotel/marina/resort project in a permit application for upland bathroom facilities for a mooring field, Wisteria had been getting all the attention.  So what is going on all of a sudden with Balast Key?  What’s the catch?

The following is our effort to piece the story back together:

October 2nd:  Jim Hendrick walks into David Wolkowsky’s home.  He passes by the marble sculptures of ancient Gods, alongside the swimming pool.  He has bad news for the 96-year old Mr. Wolkowsky, one of Key West’s most famous developers:  A new law is in the making which would prevent Mr. Wolkowsky from rebuilding the houses he had built some 25 years ago on his Island, Ballast Key, if they were ever destroyed by a hurricane.

The main house is not just any house, we were told by local attorney, David Paul Horan, who was Mr. Wolkowsky’s attorney at the time the house was built.  “David collected drawings and photographs of a speakeasy on stilts which used to mark the entrance of the Northwest Channel.  It was dubbed the ‘Hemingway House’.  When that house burned down, Mr. Wolkowsky decided to build a copy of it on Ballast Key.  He had Steve Candella make all of the parts in his welding shop and had it reassembled on Ballast Key.”  The project was testimony to Mr. Wolkowsky’s love for Key West history; it is part of his legacy.

So what Hendricks had to say about not being able to rebuild was particularly unsettling.  Hendrick must have known what he was talking about, was he not the former County Attorney who practically wrote the County code?  [Hendrick lost his license to practice law in 2005 following a corruption scandal that rocked the County Commission.]

On Thursday we asked Mayte Santamaria, from County Growth Management:

“Is there anything in the proposed comp plan update that in any way changes Mr. Wolkowsky’s [or any other offshore island owner’s] right to rebuild should his buildings be destroyed in a hurricane?”

Here is Ms. Santamaria’s response:

“I cannot speak to Ballast Key specifically as I am unfamiliar with the development of that property. That said – for property [offshore islands or land on any other key] with lawfully established residential dwelling units, in both the adopted Comp Plan and the Comp Plan update, the policy remains that recognized lawfully established residential dwelling units shall not be considered as nonconforming to density and these units could be rebuilt.”

“I was under the impression that they were trying to modify a law in which I was not able to rebuild,” Mr. Wolkowsky said, “I don’t know what the new law says.”

But Hendrick did not come over with just a frightening problem, he, of course, also had a solution: Wolkowsky should send a letter to the County Commission voicing his concerns and with a trembling hand the old man signed, “David Wolkowsky” at the bottom of the controversial letter.

Interestingly, the letter would say nothing about the fear of not being able to rebuild after a hurricane.  It did however emphasize that Ballast Key was a man made island and as such should be left out of the zoning category of “offshore islands.”  Incidentally, that is the same argument Roger Bernstein has been making for years while pushing to develop Wisteria Island.

So, Hendrick left with the letter and forwarded it to the Commissioners and the Growth Management division.

BP:  “You think it’s a man made island?”

DW:  “No. Is that what I said in the letter? Well then there’s confusion.  It is not a man made island.  It goes back to 1630 when a Galleon broke on the shore. My letter, I was confused in writing the letter…  Let’s put it that way. ..  Does the letter say that it was a man made island?

BP:  ‘[that] it was a manmade island and it should not be confused with the pristine natural islands and therefore it should have the right to be developed and added buildings to it and things like that…”

DW:  “How can I…? I can ungraciously say that I misinterpreted.  It must have caught me on a bad day.  But the island is not man made, obviously.  I detract.  Subtract.”

BP:  “Barton Smith actually spoke on your behalf, as your attorney.  Did you hire him?”

DW: [Silence] “I don’t want to get into that.”

DW:  “God wasn’t on duty one day.”

When we spoke with Jim Hendrick later by phone he confirmed that Barton Smith hadn’t spoken with Mr. Wolkowsky and had not been retained as Mr. Wolkowsky’s attorney, even though Smith had repeatedly referred to Mr. Wolkowsky as his “client” during Tuesday’s County Commission meeting.

So one way of looking at it is that a whole cluster of brilliant and expensive people pretended to do a favor for a 96-year old man [they all worked free of charge].  They gave him a scare about the future of his legacy, had him sign a letter full of “facts” he did not agree with, didn’t leave him a copy, and went to the County Commission meeting posing as his attorney asking for changes in the law that have little to do with Ballast Key.

It doesn’t make it look any better that, on the other hand, the deregulation asked for by attorney Barton Smith would greatly improve the perspectives for the resort that Roger Bernstein hopes to develop on Wisteria Island.  [Wisteria is a man made island.]  It should be noted that Jim Hendrick [and sometimes Barton Smith] is on Bernstein’s payroll.

Timing is everything:  The County Commission is amending the County’s Comprehensive Plan.  Now is the time to fight to obtain the special zoning that Bernstein dreams of that would allow him to build a resort on Wisteria Island.  But embroiled in an ownership dispute with the federal government, he barely has standing to push that agenda.  That could be where Ballast Key came in along with  Jim Hendrick, at his best in the desperate hours, the Keys’ “eminence grise.” If “Mission Impossible” had a Land Planner, the part would go to Jim Hendrick.

Of course, Hendrick has a different version of the facts:  He claims that when we met with Mr. Wolkowsky he had just come back from the dentist, that he is 96-years old and that’s why he was confused.  Hendrick claims Mr. Wolkowsky has always described his island as being made of a ship’s ballast and that Wolkowsky is legitimately afraid that the new law would keep him from rebuilding his houses if they were destroyed by a storm.  Finally, he says that the project described in the letter as the “creation of a small campus” doesn’t mean new buildings; it only means that the two existing houses would be used for lodging and research.  He argues that under current laws the two houses could only be used for lodging, which is very different from “campus” activity where scientists do lodge in the facility but also conduct research.  And that is why a new, looser category of “offshore island” zoning needs to be created.

“We’re going to have to be very, very careful,” says Mayor Sylvia Murphy, “… especially with the ones that want variances, Comp Plan changes…”


Note:  Tom Wilmers, who for 28 years worked for US Fish and Wildlife in the Key West National Wildlife Refuge [often in the area of Ballast Key] sent us two surveys that he says establish that Ballast Key is indeed a natural island:

Millspaugh (survey was done in 1904 and published in 1907)

Davis, J. H. 1942. The ecology of the vegetation and topography of the Sand Keys of Florida. Papers from Tortugas Laboratory 33. Carnegie Institution of Washington.


  No Responses to “David Wolkowsky: "God Wasn't On Duty One Day."”

  1. Apparently attorney Smith lied to the County Commission and perhaps to Mr Wolkowsky as maybe Mr Hendricks did also. Unless Mr Wolkowsky is lying, then both of these guys should face sanctions or lose their law liscenses for trying to pull this fast one on us all. Of course Hendricks has no liscense anymore , but maybe we could maroon him on Wisteria “naked and afraid ” for a couple weeks as punishment. Bad boy…

  2. Bad boys. Apparently attorney Smith lied to the County Commission and perhaps to Mr Wolkowsky as maybe Mr Hendricks did also. Unless Mr Wolkowsky is lying, then both of these guys should face sanctions or lose their law licenses for trying to pull this fast one on us all. Of course Hendricks has no license anymore , but maybe we could maroon him on Wisteria “naked and afraid ” for a couple weeks as punishment – and no swimming over to his friends at Sunset Key.

  3. Holy mackerel! How many smell tests does this fishy tale not pass? I don’t know if I can count them all. Barton Smith must be thrilled. David Wolkowsky, bless his old heart, seems to know more than he was willing to tell Naja and Arnaud. Jim Hendrick should get a good citizen award for something, but right now I’m having a bit of difficulty wondering how it should be worded to commemorate the huge service he has provided to his community. I’m glad to see Sylvia Murphy has her radar turned on full blast; just knowing Jim Hendrick is involved in something turns my radar on full blast.

    As if something was in the wind, independently of what Naja and Arnaud were cooking up, I wrote a bit about all of this yesterday, October 9, at http://www.goodmorningkeywest.com. I made some mention of Jim Hendrick’s and David Wolkowsky’s relationship, and of Jim Hendrick’s and the Bernsetins and Walshes’ relationship re Wisteria Island, and of Wolkowsky having some history with the Bernsteins and my wondering if he maybe took a piece of the action in the Bernsteins’ dogged attempts to develop Wisteria, in exchange for Wolkowsky maybe cooperating with their, through Jim Hendrick, attempt to use Ballast Key as a vehicle to gain them the zoning and comprehensive plan changes they want, so they can develop Wisteria Island -assuming they win the federal lawsuit, which will decide who owns Wisteria Island, the Feds, or the Bernsteins.

    We have Naja Girard to thank for digging up the title history, which caused the US Department of the Interior to believe the U.S., not the Bernsteins, own Wisteria Island. Naja finally had a bit of help from some angels, who told me to tell her to keep digging into that title history. I think David Wolkowsky might wish to reconsider. It looks to me God was there that day, and other days. Otherwise, this fishy tale might have headed an entirely different direction. The Devil’s direction. I suppose the ruckus ain’t over yet, but this blue paper article is one dang good ass-kicking start.

  4. Is there no end to the corruption this city and county finds itself in on a weekly basis? Once again, Jim Hendrick, truly a brilliant mind in the land planning business, finds his name in the news. And as is so often the case with Mr. Hendrick, finds himself on the wrong side what’s right and wrong. I sincerely hope Mr. Barton Smith is NOT a Hendrick protege’. It does sound, however, a remedial class in “Who is my client?” would be in order.

    How many times does Mr. Bernstein need to be told he cannot move his (current) plans for Wisteria Island forward? And now he has his lackeys misrepresent an issue (perpetrating a fraud?) to Mr. Wolkowsky. They all should go to jail just for that.

  5. The Keys should add more jail space. It looks at though some lawyers and ex lawyers are begging to go to jail . Mr Wolkowsky could make this happen.
    Lawyers have a disease called “You can’t touch me” .
    It is only cured by disbarment and some serious cases require jail-time , hopefully in isolation.

  6. Barton Smith once rented office space in Hugh Morgan’s law firm on Whitehead Street, which was where Jim Hendrick also had his law office, before he was disbarred. Jim kept his consulting firm – Critical Concern, Inc. – in Morgan’s law office for a while after the disbarment, then I think Jim moved his office to his home.

    The name of Jim’s consulting firm plays on the Florida Keys once being designated an area of critical concern by the Florida Legislature, due to massive over-development, and septic tanks and cess pits proliferation, and resulting ground and ocean pollution.

    Jim, and his wife, Donna Bosold, also represent the Peary Court developer.

    I got to know Jim pretty well after he was convicted in federal court. I published a number of reports about that at http://www.goodmorningkeywest.com. The most recent report on Jim, and some of his clients and/or confederates, is yesterday’s (October 9) “The Prince of Darkness Triangle: Key West, Ballast Key, Wisteria Island” post at http://www.goodmorningkeywest.com.

    It is my impression that their area of critical concern is how much money they can make.

  7. Your article very effectively creates the false impression that I burst into David Wolkowsky’s home one day and scared him into signing a letter containing misstatements. You chose not to report, or to garble, most of the information that I provided to Arnaud in our half-hour interview, so at the risk of spoiling a good story, please allow me to state those facts here.

    One morning several months ago, my longtime (30+ years) friend David Wolkowsky called me to say that he had decided to donate Ballast Key for use an a marine research facility. David had already been talking with potential donees, including my alma mater, the University of Miami. At David’s request, I met with representatives of The Nature Conservancy, the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary and US Fish & Wildlife to discuss David’s plans and to invite them to Ballast Key for a tour and further discussions. They accepted the invitation, so we all met at Ballast Key, where David conducted a guided tour, served lunch, and we discussed use of the island as a research center and as a base for conservation officers. Although there was much interest expressed, the wheels of government agencies turn slowly, so David decided to resume discussions with the University.

    As David’s land use advisor, I expressed my concern that UM’s use of Ballast Key could be thwarted by Comp Plan amendments proposed for “Offshore Islands”. Because Ballast Key has three major buildings (two residences and a utility building), it exceeds the maximum density for “Offshore Islands”. Today, if one of the two single-family homes were destroyed by fire or hurricane, it could be rebuilt, “as long as there is no increase in intensity of use” [Code §114-2 (6)(a)]. But converting a single-family home to a dormitory or research laboratory would be an “increase in intensity of use”. And if Ballast Key were zoned OS (Offshore Island) the University of Miami couldn’t use those buildings as research facilities or dormitories because such uses are prohibited in the OS District, which allows only single-family homes, temporary camping for the personal use of the owner, and beekeeping. So, if David donated Ballast Key to UM, and UM converted the existing buildings for use as marine research facilities and dormitories, that use would be disallowed under the proposed Comp Plan amendments, and the dormitory/research facility buildings couldn’t be rebuilt if destroyed by fire or hurricane. After David and I discussed this problem, he authorized me to draft a letter for him, explaining that problem and requesting County staff to revise the proposed Amendment to allow use of Ballast Key as an educational center for oceanographic and marine research. David read the letter and authorized me as his agent to present it to the County Commission. Your article misquotes me as saying that when David signed the letter, he was confused because he had just been to the dentist; what I actually said is that David told me (following his interview by Arnaud and Naja) that when you interviewed him he had just returned from the dentist and was somewhat confused by questions from two strangers concerning a letter he had signed a week previously.

    David told you in the interview that Ballast Key (as its name implies) was formed by ballast stones from a sailing ship hundreds of years ago. In modern times, the island has been developed with three buildings, a dock, gazebos and related improvements. Therefore it is accurate to say, as his letter does, that Ballast Key is one of a few islands in the Keys “created or substantially altered by man”, and that Ballast Key doesn’t belong in the same category as “pristine wildlife habitats”. You can quibble with use of the phrase “man-made” (a phrase that you chose, David doesn’t use, and isn’t mentioned in his letter) in describing how Ballast Key was formed, but an inhabited island initially created by ballast stones and later improved with several structures is not a naturally-created undisturbed island like its neighbor, Woman Key.

    Your monophobic obsession with Wisteria Island causes you to misportray David’s reasonable request as part of a sinister plot to develop Wisteria. The only similarities between the two islands are that they’re not connected to US 1 and that people have been living on them for decades. Unlike Wisteria, Ballast Key is located in a Wildlife Preserve and is predominantly vegetated by native trees. David is not asking to build any additional houses on Ballast Key; he only asks that he not be prevented from donating his island to a nonprofit institution for research and education. As I told Arnaud (but you chose not to report), his objective might be met simply by amending the Offshore Island policies to allow use for institutional and educational purposes, uses that Wisteria’s owners neither want nor requested. The BOCC wisely directed staff to revise the proposed Amendments to create policies recognizing the differences among “offshore islands”. One size does not fit all. It would be arbitrary and unreasonable to put Ballast Key in the same regulatory box as Woman Key and the hundreds of other undisturbed islands for which the OS policies are designed.

    Finally, you should retract your false implication that Bart Smith’s presentation of David’s letter at the Oct. 7 BOCC meeting was unauthorized. I informed Arnaud (but you chose not to report), that as David’s authorized agent I asked Bart to present the letter on David’s behalf because I would be out of State and unable to attend the meeting. Bart agreed to do so as a favor to me, and because he (like me) is a UM alumnus. He doesn’t deserve to have his kindness repaid by being slimed with implications of impropriety.

    Jim Hendrick

    Monroe County Code provisions:

    §114-2 (6)(a) allows “The rebuilding or restoration of a single-family home damaged or destroyed by fire, calamity, or natural disaster so long as the rebuilding or restoration takes place within the footprint of the destroyed or damaged structure and as long as there is no increase in density or intensity of use;

    §102-56 (e) Change in use. A nonconforming use shall not be changed to any other use unless the new use conforms to the provisions of the land use district in which it is located.

    Allowable uses in OS District include single family residences (one house per 10 acres), Camping “for the personal use of the owner of the property on a temporary basis”, and beekeeping.

  8. I would say I am shocked, but sadly I am not surprised at all at how very low developers and their representatives will stoop to gain increased development rights. But what concerns me greatly here is what may have been attempted against one of our senior citizens. Mr. Wolkowsky, bless your soul – we’ve got your back. This needs to be investigated! One just should not be able to get away with deceiving and misleading an elderly person in this way for their own personal gain. And a few words to others: Bart Smith, many of us had come to respect you over the years with some of the cases you have worked on – but are you following in the shoes of Jim Hendrick? You know that did not turn out well in the end of his legal career! And to Jim. I got to know you as we worked together to try to do something for the people and community out at the the still non-existant waterfront park. Personally I liked you. I think you have a unique sense of humor. I think you are brilliant. Why don’t you come over to our side and work for the betterment of the community instead of its degradation – it is much more fun than working for the dark side.
    I want to have hope for mankind but there are some people out there who make me worry. Thank God for people like Naja and Arnaud who dig up and spread the truth. This is not over.

  9. Mr Hendrick’s reply reads a lot like he is straying into a lawyer’s perspective. It implies that he is some kind of representative entity for Mr Kolwalsky. So let me see, If you are a land adviser in Florida you can have your clients sign papers just as though you were a lawyer . How much does it cost for a law degree? Wow, what a waste. Become a land adviser.

  10. Poor David Wolkowsky! Having worked for him for a very short time a couple years ago I can tell you he is too sharp to be taken advantage of. He may be 96 in his body, but not in his mind. Over the years he has been partly responsible for the over development of Key West. Mr. Wolkowsky does nothing without benefit to himself and friends.

  11. I just now sent this email to Naja Girard:

    Naja –

    Attached is an aerial photo of Ballast Key.

    I believe a bit more than ship’s ballast made this island. I thought I heard Wolkowsky say in the video that a sailing ship struck the island a long time ago, and sunk.

    Jerry Weinstock, M.D., Psychiatry, who seems about Wolkowsky’s age, and who has since the 1950s been an avid Keys nature love, especially fishing, snorkeling and diving, emailed earlier today:

    “Ballast key is definitely NOT man made—that wilderness area established by President T Roosevelt in the early part of the 20 th century. Sloan have a precious day!! Jerry”

  12. #KeyWestIslandGirl: As always, your analysis is on point. But surely you know that working on the light side is much less remunerative than on the dark side.

    Cui bono? To whose benefit? Follow the money and you’ll know.

  13. Once upon a time, I was playing chess with Jim Hendrick at his office, when it was still in Hugh Morgan’s law offices. We played there maybe twice a week. One of those times, someone Jim knew, whom I did not know, walked into Jim’s office and they started talking. By and by, the fellow asked Jim if he ever gave any thought to trying to get his law license reinstated? Jim said he didn’t think he would try to do that, since he was doing everything he did when he had practiced law, but go to court.

    I think to get a law license reinstated entails going through considerable scrutiny by the Florida Bar Association and/or the Florida Supreme Court. Probably lots of people who know the applicant for reinstatment are interviewed as to the applicant’s character and life since the disbarment. I say this as someone who once practiced law in Alabama, who knew lawyers who got disbarred, and lawyers who were disbarred and later tried to be reinstated.

  14. Island Girl, I appreciate your kind comments about my ability and sense of humor, and understand your concern about “What may have been attempted against Mr. Wolkowsky”. Please read my response to the article, watch the video, and re-evaluate who might be considered to have taken advantage of him.
    And I believe that helping create a marine research center IS working for the betterment of the community.

  15. Another example that a leopard can’t change his spots, facts be damned. But nice try at playing the altruism card.

    Talk about being “monophonic about Wisteria Island” and loose with the facts….
    “Unlike Wisteria, Ballast Key is located in a Wildlife Preserve and is predominantly vegetated by native trees.” Tell that to renowned naturalist Roger Hammer who a couple years ago found 76 native plant species on Wisteria Island — an incredible diversity of native plant life.

    Mr. Hendrick, did you listen to Ed Davidson’s statements at the October 7 Commission meeting about the University of Miami’s lease of Pigeon Key several decades ago? I guess not — apparently it was not your alma mater’s finest hour.

  16. From the next to last paragraph of the letter Jim Hendrick wrote for David Wolkowsky to sign:

    “… Ballast Key was created by man rather than by natural processes such as coral accretion or mangrove growth.”

  17. Beware of Jim Hendrick bearing letters of misinformation and falsehoods. Look to the last election in the City of Marathon where Hendrick admitted to sending out a false letter signed by a “Scott Miller”. Marathon has figured Jim Hendrick out because in that last election Jim’s friend, Pete Worthington was exposed and soundly defeated. I have known Jim Hendrick since the mid 1970’s when he first moved to the Keys and took a job as an Assistant State Attorney under Jeff Gautier. Jeff had the distinction of being removed from office by the Governor for losing and mishandling most every drug case that came before his office. Jim Hendrick then moved to Key West into the arms of Hugh Morgan, who interestingly enough is representing Ralph Lucignano in his case with the City of Marathon and the Overseas Liquor trial. It’s too bad that the Dennis Zecca case didn’t go to trial because Jim Hendrick’s name would have popped up all over the place! Beware of Jim Hendrick on any level!

  18. Yesterday morning over breakfast at Harpoon Harry’s, Tom Milone said he had read the August 9 “The Prince of Darkness Triangle: Key West, Ballast Key, Wisteria Island” post at http://www.goodmorningkeywest.com, and he agreed with my wondering if what this really is about is trying to get Monroe County’s permission to develop Wisteria Island into something like nearby Sunset Key, which the Walshes own? The Walshes and the Bernsteins, who claim to own Wisteria Island, partnered to try to develop Wisteria Island.

    Tom also agreed with my wondering if David Wolkowsky had been given a piece of the Wisteria Island action, in exchange for his trying to get the Monroe County’s zoning and comprehensive changed for Ballast Key?

    Tom said, if Wolkowsky wants to give Ballast Key away, for a nature preserve, he can give it to Monroe County or the State of Florida, with that stipulation, that it remain a nature preserve in perpetuity. I said, maybe Wolkowsky could not get a federal income tax deduction if he gave Ballast Key to the county or the state.

    I said I’d heard Wolkowsky would reserve a life estate for himself, if he did give Ballast Key away. Tom said Wolkowsky had reserved a life estate in a roof-top apartment of an office building across from the La Concha Hotel, when he sold that office building. I said I’d heard the same thing.

    As Key West Shoes, whom I know pretty well, commented under this blue paper article:

    “#KeyWestIslandGirl: As always, your analysis is on point. But surely you know that working on the light side is much less remunerative than on the dark side.

    “Cui bono? To whose benefit? Follow the money and you’ll know.”

    I didn’t save the email I sent to Key West Island Girl yesterday, whom I also know pretty well. It went something like:

    “Just after Jim Hendrick was convicted in federal court back in late 2006, or maybe it was early 2007, the angels gave me Jim to try to convert. Maybe you will do better. I found he was unflappable. He viewed everything as a game, including being prosecuted, tried, convicted and spending some time in a federal facility, before the trial judge put him on probation. I don’t know how Jim did it; I couldn’t do it.”

  19. For the sake of accuracy: We did not misquote you re: the dentist. Here it is again:
    “Of course, Hendrick has a different version of the facts: He claims that when we met with Mr. Wolkowsky he had just come back from the dentist, that he is 96-years old and that’s why he was confused.”

    Also from the next to last paragraph of the letter Jim Hendrick wrote for David Wolkowsky to sign:

    “… Ballast Key was created by man rather than by natural processes such as coral accretion or mangrove growth.”

  20. Individuals in positions of trust have been betraying those dependent upon them for guidance and leadership, since the inception of man. Politicians that ‘the people’ chronically vote back into office are rewarded, even though they take actions that destroy the planet and denigrate the quality of our lives.

    Developers and elected officials have more gimmicks, alibis, Trojan Horses and reasons to kill our island way of life, than any ravaging Ebola plague.

    Key West and the rest of the country, has precisely gotten the leadership they deserve.

    For many years I’ve remained silent concerning my experience with Jim Hendrick.

    Some years ago, Jim Hendrick stood with me against the forces of darkness that had targeted me for destruction. As fate would have it, the individual in charge of this ‘dark empire’ was eventually assassinated via a contract hit.

    It was during this time on a Christmas Eve night, that my door was pounded upon by processors representing this enormous empire. These agents served me with a law suit from this mega millionaire. He had been disrupting the lives of many residents in Monroe County, through his incessant ‘code violation style’ of conduct.

    On a hunch, I called and spoke with Jim Hendrick at his office on that Christmas Eve night. His kind and courteous manner was comforting. Mr. Hendrick intelligently discussed what was before me, while offering encouragement and strength. His counsel was welcomed and effective….

    On behalf of several large communities in the Upper Keys, Mr. Hendrick went on and prevailed against a powerful entity ‘hell bent’ on disregarding the welfare of his neighbors, solely for self gain.

    Mr. Hendrick’s success brought peace and calm to many neighborhoods. Basking in the glow of his victory, my adversaries crawled back into their holes.

  21. Mr. Wolkowsky, if I wanted to be certain that my home would be used for the good of the people and for the environment – I would give it to Last Stand 🙂 Open up your imagination to what they could do with Balast Key in terms of working with school children, university programs, maybe even generate some income for the fight to save our ecologically fragile environment like the Keys. Yes, I am a dreamer. I sure hope someone passes along this suggestion to Mr. Wolkowsky 🙂

  22. KWIslandgirl, Naja and Arnaud, others …

    Yesterday, Jerry Weinstock, M.D., Psychiatry, and astute scientist of ocean and land ecology, and avid fisherman and diver in the Florida Keys since the 1950s, emailed me:

    Let’s try and preserve Ballast key
    Protect it —a nature preserve–would be a Gem;
    Cheers —Jerry Weinstock, M.D.

    I replied:

    I imagine that decision is entirely up to the good-hearted nature lover, David Wolkowsky 🙂

    Jerry replied:

    SLOAN: we will keep our fingers crossed –he can deduct that wonderful Island from his taxes –a grand donation –meaningful and worthwhile. If you see him tell him we fervently, passionately want him to do the right thing.
    take it easy -take care –Jerry

    I replied:

    Hi, Jerry – I don’t know if I’ve ever seen or spoken to David Wolkowsky.

    Today, Christine Russell suggested to me, and also in a comment under the blue paper Ballast Key article, that Wolkowsky give Ballast Key to Last Stand. I’m not terribly thrilled with Last Stand, but maybe that would work out okay if Last Stand was legally able to take title and agreed to do so and hold the island as a nature preserve until hell freezes over.

    I think it was Todd German who told me last week over lunch that Wolkowsky may not have anyone to whom to leave his wealth. If that is basically true, maybe Wolkowsky can be persuaded to leave his wealth to nature preservation down here. That would be a memorable legacy Mother Nature would appreciate.


    Jerry replied:

    Sloan: it would be a break for humanity—-we are connected to nature and dependent. That whole area west of Key West is a wilderness area—-again established by Theodore Roosevelt—-Ballast key should be added to that and come under that jurisdiction–similar to the Great White Heron refuge and Key Deer refuge—It would be under the same ownership and overseen by a branch of the federal Government—analogous to a National Park like Yellowstone National Park—-Sandra Costas Father bought the Great White Heron refuge and wilderness area.

    Last Stand would be totally inappropriate.

    Cheers –Jerry (research needs to be done to comprehend the matrix of protected areas around Key West and specifically the Florida Keys — lower Keys the whole area west of the seven mile bridge -” Legal “l accuracy is important)

    Jerry wrote again:

    Sloan; this is important –Google; KEY WEST NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE established 1908—(there are 3 preserves –Ballast Key could be added to those preserves) understanding is critical–Jerry.

    again Cheers——– Jerry

    Key West National Wildlife Refuge – Official Site


    Key West National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds and other wildlife.

    I replied:

    Hi again, Jerry – my dreams last night left me feeling the angels are very interested in David Wolkowsky donating Ballast Key to “Mother Nauture”. I like your suggestions; I, too, feel the best recipient would be an existing federal nature preserve. Maybe this was forcasted in a dream I had about 2 weeks ago.

    In the dream, Jim Hendrick comes to me. (He sometimes comes to me in dreams, when I need to see something in which he either is involved, or for me to look at something as he might look at it.) Then, there is a huge storm brewing in the middle of the “picture show”. Then, on each side of the storm is a rainbow; the two rainbows are facing each other, bracketing the storm.

    I wake up wondering how that’s going to play out?

    I remember a poem that came to me in the fall of 1993:

    Black is white
    White is black
    When they fuse
    Rainbows bloom


  23. Note: Last Stand has not expressed any interest in becoming the recipient of title to Ballast Key – this was merely a suggestion by a commenter.