Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Gov. Scott Names Key West Developer To Florida Fish And Wildlife Board

The president of a Key West real-estate development company has been named to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, replacing the former chairman who announced last week he is stepping down after 12 years on the board.

The appointment late Friday of Robert Spottswood by Gov. Rick Scott came three days after Richard Corbett, whose term on the board was scheduled to expire in January 2018, submitted his resignation to Scott.

Corbett, a Tampa resident who has been on the commission since February 2003 and was named chairman in June 2013, didn't state a reason for his decision in a letter to Scott, instead praising staff and the governor's approach to conservation.

"I am confident you will continue this positive trend and select a candidate that will carry forward the energy and enthusiasm for Florida's fish and wildlife resources, while being mindful of the strong relationship between the stewardship of these resources and their importance to our economy and quality of life in Florida," wrote Corbett.

Corbett is a real-estate investor who also manages the 16,000-acre Pinckney Hill Plantation in Monticello. He is also a University of Notre Dame alumnus who in June endowed the college's head-football coaching position.

Commissioners at their June 26 meeting in Sarasota recognized Corbett's work as chairman. The resignation is effective Sept. 1.

The commission is scheduled to meet Sept. 2 and Sept. 3 in Fort Lauderdale. At the meeting, the commission is expected to finalize final quota numbers for a controversial bear hunt in October.

Corbett has taken some fire this year for comments he made as the commission advanced plans to reopen areas of the state to bear hunting for the first time in more than 20 years.

In his letter, Corbett spoke of the commission and staff making "great progress in the conservation arena."

"We always worked hard to find the right balance between the needs of our fish and wildlife resources and the needs of Florida's citizens and visitors," Corbett wrote to Scott. "I believe our accomplishments are reflective of the outstanding appointments you made to our commission — maintaining continuity while blending in fresh thinking and ideas into our collaborative efforts."

In appointing Spottswood, Scott thanked Corbett for "his dedication to protecting Florida's incredible natural resources.”

Scott had reappointed Corbett to a third 5-year term in March 2013, which caught many by surprise at the time. Brian Yablonski, who has been chairman since July 1, called the third term for Corbett "unprecedented," at the June 26 meeting.

In appointing Corbett's replacement, Scott expressed confidence in Spottswood, who created Spottswood Companies.

"As a sixth generation Floridian from the Keys, I know Robert cares deeply about our beautiful state and preserving Florida as the fishing capital of the world," Scott said in the release.

This is the third time that Spottswood has received an appointment from Scott.

On May 11, Spottswood was one of nine non-hospital executives appointed to Scott's Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding to examine the economics of health care and hospitals in Florida.

In April 2013, Scott appointed Spottswood to the 3rd District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission. Scott also appointed Spottswood's wife, Elena Spottswood, to the Florida Keys Community College District Board of Trustees.

Spottswood donated $10,000 on Sept. 30, 2013, to "Let's Get to Work," a political organization that has played a key role backing Scott.

Spottswood will face Senate confirmation for the commission position in 2016.