Ex-Governor Tries To Silence A Critic With A Bar Complaint; Gains Critic 70,000+ New Twitter Followers

from the twist-everyone-saw-coming dept

The whitest boy on the beach, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, has decided to bring his beach-grabbing exploits to the attention of everyone.

Of course, that's not what Huckabee actually wanted to do. He wanted his privatizing of the area where water meets land to remain as unnoticed as he wishes his front yard was. But if we've learned anything at all over the years, it's that the more you try to stop people from talking about your beachfront property, the less likely it is that you'll get them to stop talking about it.

Huckabee's $6 million mansion in the Florida panhandle proves money can't buy quite as much happiness as it used to. Huckabee thought he had purchased a chunk of beach to go with his beach house. Florida beachgoers felt otherwise. They used "his" beach like they used the beach anywhere else along the coast.

Andy Marlette of the Pensacola News Journal has compiled a few choice quotes from Huckabee regarding the disrespecting of his $6 million beachfront property.

“I’ve had underage kids smoking pot and openly drinking,” Huckabee wrote. (Did he check their IDs?)

Further confirming millennial's negative stereotypes about “boomers,” Huckabee enumerated complaints in the letter about everything from loud music to beach parties to dog poop to used prophylactics.  

At one point, he even described witnessing a sexual encounter atop our shimmering emerald coast waters. “Two weeks ago, a young couple stripped naked and conducted various sex acts including intercourse on a YOLO board in clear sight of the beach in front of my home at 2 in the afternoon…”

Fun stuff. Huckabee says he bought the beach along with the house. Governor Rick Scott agreed, passing a law that privatized a bunch of previously-public land in 2018. (It was sort of walked back a few months later.)  A bunch of Floridians disagree and have been working to codify public access to beaches panhandle millionaires believe they own. Attorney Daniel Uhlfelder has been leading the charge, doing pro bono work for non-profit "Florida Beaches for All."

Uhlfelder has also been taking a few Twitter jabs at Mike Huckabee, much to the former governor's dismay. Here's Steve Bousquet's summation of recent events, which have culminated in a very stupid move by the $6 million man.

When a persistent critic, a lawyer on the public side of the beach access battle, tweeted back with sarcasm and humor, Huckabee tried to silence him by filing a formal complaint with the Florida Bar. The complaint should be tossed out as a sham and an abuse of the system of disciplining lawyers.

In his Bar complaint, Huckabee accuses lawyer Daniel Uhlfelder of “vile and unprofessional attacks” and “repeatedly posting disparaging information about me,” which Huckabee claims violate Bar rules on integrity of the legal profession. Huckabee argues that the Bar is the right forum because the lawyer’s Twitter profile mentions his law practice.

Yes, Huckabee has filed a bar complaint in hopes of shutting down this persistent critic -- one who suggested Huckabee's Secret Service nickname should be "beach thief." The complaint [PDF] is quite the read, with Huckabee (through legal representation) explaining just how awful (and allegedly unethical) it is to be mocked on social media.

This is not a case in which an attorney is generally commenting about some public matter. Rather, Mr. Uhlfelder is directly targeting me for harassment while I am an adverse party during ongoing litigation. He accused me of being a thief, disparaged me and my family, and continued to harass me even when I blocked his account. Mr. Uhlfelder's conduct is an embarrassment to the reputation of the Florida Bar.

Whew. OK then. The complaint contains numerous screenshots from Uhlfelder's Twitter account doing things like calling Huckabee out for blocking him. It also contains tweets noting that Huckabee has called Uhlfelder an "ambulance chaser" and suggested the lawyer "follow Jesus" rather than Huckabee. (On Twitter, I guess…)

What it doesn't show is anything Uhlfelder should be reprimanded for. Sure, Uhlfelder could be a bit more tactful when interacting with litigation opponents on social media, but the Florida Bar rules don't specifically prohibit this sort of behavior. Lawyers aren't allowed to "disparage" or "humiliate" opposing litigants, but it would be a stretch to call Uhlfelder's mostly-innocuous tweaking of the easily-offended Huckabee a violation of this rule.

What Huckabee has managed to do is draw more attention to both his own questionable actions and the movement targeting the law that turned public beaches into private yards last year. Uhlfelder had fewer than 500 Twitter followers prior to Huckabee's complaint. Now, he has over 70,000.

Huckabee tried to silence a critic by handing him a bigger megaphone. If Huckabee's skin had just been a little thicker, this could have been contained to the tiny part of Twitter that cares about the dynamics of Florida beachfront legislation. Instead, it's now all about Huckabee and his inability to handle criticism. Huckabee now has thousands of new critics, almost none of whom can be hit with a bar complaint.

Filed Under: bar complaint, beach, daniel uhlfelder, ethics complaint, florida, florida man, free speech, mike huckabee, public beach, twitter spat


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  1. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Dec 2019 @ 10:52am

    Mike, meet Barbra.

    Babs, meet Mike.

    You two play nice now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2019 @ 11:08am

    Ahhh - yes
    The Public Trust

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Michael, 9 Dec 2019 @ 11:41am

    "Two weeks ago, a young couple stripped naked and conducted various sex acts including intercourse on a YOLO board in clear sight of the beach in front of my home at 2 in the afternoon…"

    How long was he watching these people? I can see accidentally catching "a sex act", but to catch "various", you have to commit some serious time to watching.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2019 @ 11:46am

    He's is a RINO!!! He really should know what he PAID FOR ahead of time. It should be in writing. A lot of Rich people are under the impression that they own the beach as they make it hard for people to get on it. But you can walk way around their houses and get on them, and then they go complaining. They think they know what they're talking about and end up being completely wrong. Just like so many people are under the impression that you can't record them without permission. They couldn't be more wrong. Don't see them stopping at each security camera and telling them to not record them. You can record anything you can see in public. So many just get these strange ideas, made up laws that don't actually exist. Your Policy only matters on your private property. People seem hard to understand that also.

    Huckabee is far from the first person to claim the beach as private. He won't be the last. Both parties should be sure about things. Is it public or private? It seems strange that they changed a number of public beaches to private and then turn some back to public again. I'm not sure how the Governer can turn a public beach to a private beach in the first place? It seems like a big confusing mess. Who is right in the end?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 9 Dec 2019 @ 12:54pm

    Re:

    Mike and Babs, meet Devin.

    Devin, meet Mike and Babs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    JoeCool (profile), 9 Dec 2019 @ 1:01pm

    Of course

    “I’ve had underage kids smoking pot and openly drinking,” Huckabee wrote. (Did he check their IDs?)

    He didn't need to - they were clearly younger than the 35 year-old high schoolers on TV, so they MUST be underage. ;)

    At one point, he even described witnessing a sexual encounter atop our shimmering emerald coast waters. “Two weeks ago, a young couple stripped naked and conducted various sex acts including intercourse on a YOLO board in clear sight of the beach in front of my home at 2 in the afternoon…”

    He was upset because he ran out of lotion.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    JoeCool (profile), 9 Dec 2019 @ 1:02pm

    Re:

    If you want a private beach, you buy your own island.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anon, 9 Dec 2019 @ 1:47pm

    Speaking of Bar Complaints

    If we're going to throw around complaints to the bar... Shouldn't people be disbarred for contempt of congress, refusing a subpoena from a congressional committee?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Norahc (profile), 9 Dec 2019 @ 2:24pm

    The only thing missing from this is a Twitter parady account called @HuckabeachCrab.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Bobvious, 9 Dec 2019 @ 3:05pm

    Re: Mike, meet Barbra

    Because who else could say it better, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPRonG87eKw

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2019 @ 3:33pm

    Re:

    To my understanding, in some areas (including florida) the law states that the area between the mean high tide line and the water is public access. However, this part of the law is often forgotten.

    From my reading up on the law... part of the problem is that the burden of proof for determining private vs. public in court was shifted from property owners to the government, rendering it harder to prove a beach was public.

    These two facts combined with the ability for property owners to kick people off the area of the beach they think they own (and apparently the ability to physically block it off) and it essentially prevents beach that should be public from being used by the public.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    SpongeDan UhlPants, 9 Dec 2019 @ 4:40pm

    Can you feel it now, Mr. Crab?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2019 @ 4:47pm

    I cannot say with certainty whether or not that would be a valid proposition. I can only say that it would most definitely have a higher chance of success than this matter of "You! Manager! I demand you fire him because his mean nicknames for me on Twitter were funnier than my mean nicknames for him!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2019 @ 4:54pm

    Lawyers aren't allowed to "disparage" or "humiliate" opposing litigants, but it would be a stretch to call Uhlfelder's mostly-innocuous tweaking of the easily-offended Huckabee a violation of this rule.

    Without a lawsuit in play, one thing Uhlfelder is not... is an opposing litigant to Huckabee. But there's an easy remedy for that...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    fizzle, 9 Dec 2019 @ 7:23pm

    What is in the water at those prayer meetings? All the Republicans appear to believe the little people lost the 1st Amendment already. (That's scheduled for the second term, people.) I mean, Hucksterbee has always tried to play-act the smart dumb-hick, but he's neither hick nor smart. And someone other than the cow clearly has their hand up Nunes' ass, flapping his lips and more importantly, paying the legal bills. Who is pushing this?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    OGquaker, 9 Dec 2019 @ 7:54pm

    I'm tired of being left out in the cold

    The mean high tide line is overrunning this rich "chosen" small subset of humanity who think money buys privilege, Trumping the underprivileged.
    Last i checked, this country's (includes Florida) laws distribute privilege equally across all citizens, and some would argue that foreign visitor's to the US have almost all the same privileges that are equality distributed by the federal Constitution: that document is "blind" or impartial. See https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/01/vinod-khosla-supreme-court-case-rejects-private- beach .
    So, since melting all the ice on this planet takes back indefensible un-granted special rights, climate change can't be all bad.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    freakanatcha (profile), 9 Dec 2019 @ 9:16pm

    Privatize the profit, socialize the risk

    While ex-Gov. Lardass complains that the public can walk across his beach, bet he doesn't have an issue with that same public subsidizing his flood insurance.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2019 @ 10:25pm

    Re: Of course

    it wasn't lotion, it's that <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/rush-limbaugh-detained-with-viagra/">/a>Rush was late</a>

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. icon
    Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 10 Dec 2019 @ 7:12am

    Re: Re:

    Aw, bless! Now they can form a blow-back support group.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2019 @ 10:24am

    Lethal affliction

    His bands named Capitol punishment and after your first listen you will understand why.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Dave P., 10 Dec 2019 @ 1:13pm

    Re:

    Damn! Now where did I put those binoculars?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. icon
    btr1701 (profile), 10 Dec 2019 @ 3:55pm

    Re:

    A lot of Rich people are under the impression that they own the beach as they make it hard for people to get on it.

    The rich and famous in Malibu are notorious for this. There's no such thing as a private beach in California. Every inch, from the Mexico border to Oregon, is public property. (Excepting U.S. military bases that abut the ocean.) But Malibu is full of left-wing versions of Huckabee, who pretend like the beach came with that gazillion-dollar home they bought on the other side of the sand.

    And yes, for decades they pretty much made public access to the beach impossible by connecting one house to the other via fencing and other barricades so that there was no gap one could use to get from the road to the beach for nearly the entire 30-mile length of the city. It took a CA Supreme Court ruling mandating public access and the resulting eminent domain seizure of strips of private property to make public access points every 1/2 mile or so. But even so, the homeowners continued to do things like obscure the access points with shrubbery and other tricks to discourage the riff-raff from intruding on "their" beach.

    A couple of years ago, someone sick of this nonsense created an app which describes in minute detail how to find every single mostly-hidden Malibu beach access point and the homeowners lost their shit as they were suddenly inundated with the unwashed masses despoiling their pristine sand. They tried to sue to ban the app but were laughed out of court.

    But you can walk way around their houses and get on them, and then they go complaining

    Yeah, to this day in Malibu, if you do intrude on what the richey-riches think is theirs, you can find yourself being confronted by some Hollywood mogul's private security goons as you walk down the beach and told that you're trespassing. But if you ignore them and keep walking, they can't do anything about it and they know it. Personally, my response to such a confrontation would be stop walking and plop down right there for a couple of hours just to create maximum irritation for the entitled homeowner.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. icon
    btr1701 (profile), 10 Dec 2019 @ 4:08pm

    Re: Speaking of Bar Complaints

    Shouldn't people be disbarred for contempt of congress, refusing a subpoena from a congressional committee?

    No, because that's not how subpoenas and contempt work.

    First, the committee issues the subpoena. You can then either comply or refuse and challenge it in court. The court then hears from both sides and decides whether the subpoena should be enforced.

    If the court rules that it should be enforced, it issues an order compelling testimony. At that point, the person can be charged with contempt for reusing to comply.

    But refusing to comply with a subpoena before a court has ruled on it is not contempt or obstruction. Nor is it obstruction to challenge a subpoena in court, as House Democrats have been claiming recently in the impeachment circus. Claiming that it's obstruction for someone to avail him/herself of the very function for which we have a third branch of government is lunacy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2019 @ 2:47pm

    I suggest a new word "a huckabee". it means a wave of sewage mostly consisting of large floating human turds, rippling up the beach trying to steal sand that doesn't belong to it.

    Oh no, we can't go swimming today. The sewer system has backed up and there are Huckabee's all along the coast.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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