Editor’s note: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insight on various topics in Marketplace.
— Steve’s Marketplace —
An eye-popping sales record has been set in Northeast Florida. Meanwhile, an impressive record of durability has been snapped. Not to be ignored, the Florida attorney general has gone on record with sensational claims.
None of these instances remotely resembles a broken record. All three are newsworthy developments. And each has its own record-setting merits.
The sales record happened here on Amelia Island. A house sold for $10.5 million at 39 Ocean Club Drive at the Amelia Island Plantation, eclipsing a previous record for the northeast Florida five-county area set in Ponte Vedra Beach in December 2021.
The buyers had lived in Jacksonville for seven years, and reportedly chose the oceanfront Tuscan-style house because “they loved the idea of a resort community with such wonderful amenities that’s so close to the city, but yet in a location that’s so lush and private.”
The durability record was established by a longtime favorite restaurant/bar in St. Augustine. Sadly, the 50-year run of Scarlett O’Hara’s is ending. There may be establishments with longer tenures, but not by much around here.
O’Hara’s sits in the heart of downtown St. Augustine, and has been a favorite stop for Flagler College students. The owners cited soaring costs coupled with a lingering hangover from the pandemic.
In a Facebook post, the owners wrote, “It’s a heartbreaking thing to close a business, especially one with a long history such as Scarlett’s. As much as the stars aligned against us, as much as we fought, we still failed her … Anyway, good night Scarlett. We really did give a damn.”
Lastly, but not insignificantly, Attorney General Ashley Moody spoke out loudly about the complications of illegal immigration. In a televised interview, Moody said she recently visited the southern border, and had a startling revelation.
“Every month we’re seeing a new record of encounters with unvetted illegal immigrants flooding into our nation,” Moody said, “and Florida has seen most of those.”
According to Moody, “Of those migrants coming over, 7 out of 10 told our officers they were headed to Florida.” Under the current procedures, illegal migrants are often sent by planes and buses to their destinations of choice. “Even though we’re not a border state, we are the recipient of many of these unvetted migrants,” Moody said.
In response, Florida has formed a strike force to combat immigration-linked crime. The state has even empaneled a grand jury to explore the criminal networks behind the crime.
“And that’s a bold step,” Moody said. “We’re going to look at everything, including the federal government and what part they’re playing.” In addition, a bill has been introduced into the Florida Senate to halt secret flights of migrants into the state.
“So we have been very proactive,” Moody said. “Thankfully we have a governor like Gov. (Ron) DeSantis that said, ‘We’re not going to sit back.’ In fact, we’ve already seen a murder of one of our citizens by someone that the Biden administration flew here without letting us know, without telling us.”
Moody has visited the southern border twice. She has seen the smuggling of illegal drugs that could “kill thousands of our citizens.” This is another complication of an open border. The numbers of illegal migrants pouring into our country each month are enough to form a small city.
“It’s insane,” Moody said. “Think of the madness. We actually have criminal, violent cartels facilitating the smuggling – and the Biden administration carries out the last leg.
“They’re like ‘thanks, we’ve got it from here. We’ll make sure they get all over the country.”
Steve Nicklas is a financial adviser with a local brokerage firm who lives and works on Amelia Island. He is also an award-winning columnist. His columns also regularly appear in several weekly newspapers in North Florida and in Southeast Georgia, and on his website at SteveNicklasMarketplace.com. He has published a book, “All About Money,” of his favorite columns from the past 20 years. The book is available on Amazon. He can be reached at 904-753-0236 or at [email protected].