Dear Brian Philpot: Jeb may be a great business partner; but he’s a terrible educator

Brian Philpot is a very important and influential player in the wider Lakeland Economic Development Council nebula that I described yesterday. This nebula includes LEDC itself, the Lakeland First PAC, and the Lakeland Leads foundation, which employs Kate “perpetual bottom-feeder district” Wallace.

Lakeland Leads is paying for Jackie Byrd’s travel expenses for a week-long trip to Jeb Bush’s two-day public education-hating and teacher-hating conference in San Diego, at this hotel.

I had heard, vaguely, that Brian was a founder/member of Lakeland Leads; but I don’t see evidence of it on the official paperwork I’ve seen. So I just don’t know. And he hasn’t returned emails from me in quite some time. Brian was a generous financial supporter of mine in the 2016 election. And I have always had productive discussions with him. Today, he is the official LEDC’s chair of “High Skill High Wage.”

Jeb Bush, chair of the AgAmerica Advisory Board

I had also heard, vaguely, that Brian had business ties with Jeb Bush. But I never really bothered to run it down. Now I have. Brian’s company is called AgAmerica Lending, which bills itself as “the Nation’s Premiere Land Lender.” And that may well true. It seems quite successful.

Jeb Bush is chair of AgAmerica’s Advisory Board, which also includes Adam Putnam. Here’s a link. And a screenshot.

Now, let me be very, very clear. This is on AgAmerica’s website. The picture above is from the Instagram feed. It’s clearly displayed public information. I could have found this out at any time.

If I were Brian, I would probably over-disclose and make sure everybody knew about my business relationship with Jeb when I was trying to influence public policy. But I try to be hyper-transparent. I don’t accuse Brian of hiding this for a second. It’s publicly displayed.

At the same time, I don’t think most people affected by the LEDC nebula’s political activism are aware of Jeb’s relationship to AgAmerica. And I think it’s important to make them aware. It’s an important missing piece to my article from yesterday.

My business has 14,000 employees and 105,000 direct daily customers

Jeb Bush may have elite expertise in land deal financing — or important access to potential customers. I’m sure he is a valuable, rainmaking business partner and advisor for AgAmerica.

But I’m in a different business with Jeb Bush. My business is more important than AgAmerica. It has exponentially more employees; exponentially more daily customers; and exponentially greater economic and social impact on the home town and county that Brian and I share.

Jeb Bush is an avowed and destructive enemy of my business, my business’ employees, and my business’ mission. As leader of this business for a while, Jeb Bush produced appalling test score growth metrics, the worst of any state in America. He created a business model that only benefits grifters. And I’m trying to buy him out, so to speak.

Here’s full run down of how Jeb Bush might critique himself as an education leader, if he were inclined. You should read it, Brian.

At the very least, you and the wider LEDC nebula should invite me to give my data-driven presentation about the reality of Jeb Bush’s record and the Florida Model’s abject two decades of failure and waste. That, and a teacher shortage, is the sum total of Jeb’s education record. I hope he’s better at lending.

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