Former Gov. Mike Huckabee is building a $3 million house on Blue Mountain Beach just east of Destin, Fla. He bought the lot on the famous sugar sand beach last year for $800,000 and this year took out a building permit for a house expected to cost $2.2 million. The three-story house will have 8,224 square feet of living space and 2,969 square feet of decks and porch. A pool or spa is also in the works.
Walton County tax records show Huckabee has a $2.8 million mortgage with Centennial Bank after paying off $250,000 of the land purchase. This is in addition to a $375,000 mortgage outstanding on his vacation home in North Little Rock's Shady Valley.
The Huckabee debt was noted in a recent article by Politico, which said the hefty mortgage payments might encourage the Huckster to stick with his Fox News and radio gigs rather than jump into the 2012 race for president. But Huckabee also complained to Politico he's not getting enough attention as a front-runner in that race so don't rule it out.
Huckabee bought the land and took out the building permit through the Angus B. Wiles Trust. Its trustee is his Little Rock accountant, Bryan Jeffrey.
When the Huckster pulled out of town for sunny low-tax Florida, he complained that nosy reporters here were always looking into his personal life. Just so he'll know: Janet Huckabee's overheard remark about her grand new home — uttered while shopping at an upscale design shop in Little Rock for furnishings — led us to the real estate discovery. She also was heard to say that Mike was going to have an even bigger clothes closet than her own.
J.D. Lowery of Maumelle, a Clinton School of Public service graduate and co-author of the "Live Green Arkansas" environmental blog, has resigned from the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission.
Gov. Mike Beebe appointed Lowery in April. His appointment was welcomed by environmentalists who hoped for more green-minded representation. Lowery recently left Viridian USA, a sustainable building consulting firm, to work for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission's energy office. He told commission chairman Darwin Hendrix in a letter that he wanted to avoid the perception of a conflict of interest with his new position working for a state executive branch agency. Gov. Beebe will appoint someone to complete Lowery's four-year term.