In April, the U.S. Senate asked the Justice Department to open an investigation into the circumstances surrounding a $10 million expenditure for a highway interchange in Florida [Coconut Road earmark] promoted by Alaska Rep. Don Young (R), the former chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Then U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to request a federal criminal investigation into the matter which “shifted $10 million from a road widening project in southwest Florida to a study of an interchange that promised to benefit one of Young’s campaign donors,” Michigan developer Daniel Aronoff. Around this time, Young collected $40,000 in contributions from a variety of interests tied to Aronoff, including lobbyist Richard "Rick" Alcade, who “worked on behalf of Aronoff’s real estate firm, the Landon Companies.”
In 2005, Rick Alcalde (Potomac Partners, D.C.) represented both Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) and Aronoff’s Landon Companies. Landon Companies, a real estate company, has paid Alcalde’s firms (first Ogilvy Government Relations, then Potomac Partners) a combined $600,000 since 2003. FGCU has paid Potomac Partners $140,000 since 2005. Aronoff affiliates apparently fronted costs for Young including fundraising and travel aboard private planes.
In 2005, Alcade specifically lobbied Young on the highway bill.
Alcalde reports contributing $8,500 to Young's campaign committee. His clients have contributed much more.
Alcalde and his associate Daniel Feliz continue to represent Florida Gulf Coast University and Aronoff's interests in Washington, D.C.
Young's "An Intern's Survival Guide" includes Alcalde among a group of nine "A-Team" lobbyists who should get direct access to Young staffers whenever they call Young's office.