New palm trees at FIU: a shady purchase

Cartoon by Raphael Alegbeleye.

The hundreds of new palm trees taking root on the Modesto Maidique Campus this summer may make the days more shady, but not as shady as the company FIU bought them from.

The University spent $999,800 to purchase and install 2,007 palm trees from Manuel Diaz Farms a wholesale plant nursery in Homestead, FL.

In the past, the nursery was placed on a delinquent-contractors list for allegedly failing to replace $100,000 worth of trees purchased by the Parks and Recreation Department. Tree farmer Manuel Diaz was also indicted by a Miami-Dade County grand jury after prosecutors said he stole a million dollars from taxpayers.

The money for the trees came from FIU’s central budget, a non-recurring fund used for University-wide initiatives, according to Media Relations. PantherNOW got no clarification as to where the money in the fund comes from or what else it can be used for.

The company the trees were auctioned from demonstrates the University’s poor judgement when it comes to their purchases.

Why FIU would associate itself, and give so much money to, this kind of company is baffling, not to mention irresponsible.

The University should have pooled that money to renovate the areas of this campus that are in serious need of an overhaul. Older buildings like Primera Casa or the newly christened College of Arts, Sciences & Education are in desperate need of a plumber or an electrician. Not to mention, the Biscayne Bay Campus needs a major facelift. Rather than fix these issues, FIU is distracting its student body from the real problems that face the campuses. 

While the University is bound by certain State regulations when it comes to putting out bids, they should have been a little more discerning before choosing a company with a track record of legal snafus and shady business.

1 Comment on "New palm trees at FIU: a shady purchase"

  1. Genevieve Diamond | August 28, 2019 at 6:09 PM | Reply

    I wonder who authorized this purchase. Were you able to find that information?

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