United’s CEO is usually under fire for the things that happen at his airline, from passengers being dragged off planes to dogs dying and being flown to the wrong destinations. But now he’s personally under some scrutiny for what his family has been doing at their $6 million home in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
An I-TEAM investigation shows evidence that Munoz and a few of his neighbors have been “beach scraping” (or as Oscar may prefer to refer to it, “reaccommodating sand”), where they’ve been taking sand from the public beach in front of their homes in order to build dunes. Much of the sand was wiped out by Hurricanes Matthew and Irma, so the beach is just starting to naturally rebuild. Despite that, a few homeowners have been taking some of the existing sand and building dunes in front of their homes, rather than doing it the proper way. According to the story:
But the dunes in front of four homes, including that of Munoz and other high-profile executives, appear to have been recently shored up compared to the untouched dunes near neighbors’ homes.
Tracks left behind in the sand near the restored dunes indicate bulldozers and other machinery were used to scrape sand from the existing beachfront — a possible violation of state regulations.
“We’re outraged about this,” said Hudson. “It’s a poor reflection on the whole community that someone would be that presumptuous to virtually steal something that belongs to the public and use it for personal gain.”
This work (obviously) wasn’t permitted, and now the homeowners could face fines and other penalties. The city sent a letter to the Munozes on March 28, and Oscar Munoz’s wife, Catherine Munoz, will have 15 days to arrange a meeting with the city to discuss the matter.
The correct protocol should be to have commercial sand brought in, which is more expensive, but the right thing to do, as noted by a neighbor, per First Coast News:
“The beach, you can look at it, it’s in the process of rebuilding, nature’s rebuilding it,” Husdon said. “But all things like this do is disrupt the process.”
After Hurricane Matthew, Hudson said he spent around $28,000 to ship in commercial sand to create dunes to protect his beachfront home. Using sand from the beach would cost only a fraction, he said.
“There’s a cost to playing by the rules,” Hudson said. “[The beach] is an asset to be shared and it’s the responsibility of everyone that lives here to protect that jewel.”
I didn’t realize Munoz had a home in Florida, though after doing some research I came across some other interesting stories. I sort of feel bad for the guy. The Daily Mail had a story about a year ago following the Dr. Dao incident, with pictures of him cycling in Florida “without a care in the world,” as they put it. They even tried to knock on his door:
When we knocked on the family’s door for a chat April 15, Munoz hid in the kitchen while his wife and teenage son came to the door.
‘Why are people treating us this way,’ Catherine Munoz exclaimed. ‘I’ve been locked into my house all week because I don’t want to be approached by people who know me. I’m a wife and a mother, I can’t believe we’ve had to go through this.’
I don’t think he knew what he was getting himself into when he took a job as an airline CEO. Probably a bit different than the freight railroad industry he worked in before.