Priced Out Of Paradise
Unchecked corporate greed, political ambition, and Florida’s housing affordability crisis.
Who's Pulling The Strings?
Greedy corporations, multinational investors, and the ultra-wealthy are raking in record profits while Floridians are being priced out of the state. Governor Ron DeSantis and Republican Leaders have received more than $90 million dollars in campaign contributions from developers, property insurers, and big real estate interests. Here’s a summary of a few of those donors.
Developers And Real Estate - $28.1 Million
The developer and real estate industry is decentralized and diffuse; full of billionaires making record profits by rigging the housing market to their favor and price gouging. Not only is there no accountability from state leaders, but state laws are often passed to make even more profits for these players.
Florida Home Builders Association
Owned by a Republican State Senator’s family
Mori Hosseini/ICI Homes
Governor DeSantis appointed Hosseini to the UF Board of Trustees
Florida’s biggest private landowner
For-profit affordable housing and apartment developer
Major Panhandle developer
Apartment and shopping plaza developer
Miami condo developer
Homes By West Bay
Tampa area home builder
One of the nation’s largest builders
The St. Joe Company
Panhandle developer and homebuilder
Utilities - $10.4 Million
The housing affordability crisis is also directly tied to the state’s approval of rate increases requested by power companies. Last year, Governor Ron DeSantis’ Public Service Commission approved a record-setting rate increase for Florida Power & Light (FPL) that will raise electricity prices by more than $5 billion over the next four years. Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Florida and TECO have filed petitions to the same board indicating even higher monthly bills in 2023.
Florida Power And Light
Property Insurance - $4.8 Million
Just like apartment rents and home prices, property insurance premiums are soaring. Since 2019, when Ron DeSantis took office, property insurance premiums have more than doubled from $1,988 to $4,231 a year, which is more than three times the national average. Governor DeSantis and legislative leaders have not accomplished a single thing to lower insurance costs for Floridians. In fact, during the property insurance special session this May, the Florida House and Senate rejected Democratic amendments to cut rates, and ultimately passed a bill supported by the insurance lobby that provides no guarantee of reduced rates for consumers.
Property Casualty Insurers Association
Private Equity And Finance - $44 Million
Global private equity firms have become major landlords in America’s urban and rural communities, buying out apartment complexes, single family homes, and manufactured home communities and rigging the market to their advantage.
Housing is traditionally known as a long-term investment and key to generational wealth for everyday people. But as ProPublica reports, these buyers, which include some of the largest private equity firms, real estate investment firms, and institutional investors in the world, seek deals on apartment buildings and manufactured home communities, slash costs, or hike rents to boost income, then unload the buildings at a higher price. The companies’ size allows them to influence market rates and lobby against reforms that could dilute their power.
Renters, manufactured home owners, and potential home owners all suffer. Housing supply is decreased, while renters and manufactured home owners face higher costs, lower quality of care, and little accountability for faceless global private equity firms.
Has invested more than $1 billion in Florida real estate
Spring Bay Capital (Frederick Sontag)
Spring Bay Capital does real-estate investment
Fidelity is the nation’s largest title insurer
Florida Banker’s Association
Third Lake Capital
Jeff Vinik, American Investment Holdings
One of the biggest developers in downtown Tampa
Corporate Landlords And Manufactured Homes - $2.5 Million
Corporate Landlords: Since Governor Ron DeSantis took office in 2019, rents across the state of Florida have increased by 40% compared to 25% nationally. Corporate landlords’ main lobbying group, the Florida Apartment Association, has consistently opposed and prevented the passage of some of the most basic renter protection proposals in the State Capitol.
Manufactured Homes: Within the last few years, some of the largest private equity firms, real estate investment firms, and institutional investors in the world have made investments in manufactured home communities in the United States, a highly fragmented industry that has been one of the last sectors of housing in the country that has remained affordable for residents. The Manufactured Housing Association represents manufactured park owners. More and more manufactured parks are being bought out by private equity firms and corporate landlords, who are hiking up rents on low-wealth families and Floridians living on a fixed income.
Billionaire Richard Kurtz
Cerberus Capital Management
Billionaire Landlord Geoff Palmer
Jorge Lopez, Cornerstone
Manufactured Housing Association
Sam Zell, Equity: $100,000
The Florida Apartment Association
Greystar: Private Equity-backed Firm
Westover: Corporate Landlord
Dominium: Corporate Landlord
Camden Apartment: Corporate Landlord
Royal American: Corporate Landlord
Associated Industries And The Florida Chamber - $17.8 Million
Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) is the big-business lobbying group that is one of the biggest donors to Republican leaders in Tallahassee. AIF itself is primarily funded by six of Florida’s biggest companies, most of them parts of giant multi-state or multinational conglomerates: Sugar producers Florida Crystals and U.S. Sugar; electric utility Florida Power & Light (FPL); for-profit hospital chain HCA Healthcare; theme-park owner Walt Disney World; and health insurer Florida Blue. Similarly, the Florida Chamber of Commerce represents the largest corporate interests in Florida, including monopoly utility companies, and donates millions to Republican campaigns – with most of its money coming from corporate giants like FPL, U.S. Sugar and Publix Super Markets.
Associated Industries Of Florida
Florida Chamber Of Commerce
A Note About The Campaign Finance Totals Used In This Report:
To determine how much money has been contributed to Republican leaders from corporations and ultra-wealthy people making record profits from Florida’s housing crisis, we compiled all campaign contributions of $5,000 or more to political committees controlled by Gov. Ron DeSantis (Friends of Ron DeSantis), the Republican Party of Florida, the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Florida House Republican Campaign Committee, from January 1, 2019 to July 31, 2022. All figures cited in this report come from that dataset.