BY BUDDY NEVINS
Billionaire entrepreneur Wayne Huizenga wants a piece of Broward County’s waste disposal business.
Huizenga’s Choice Environmental told the county that the firm “stands ready to work with the county or any other party to craft disposal solutions…”
The letter, signed by Choice’s Chief Administrative Office and General Counsel Grant Smith, was distributed on the eve of Tuesday’s scheduled debate on the future of Broward’s waste disposal.
The move by Huizenga’s company is one week after upstart Sun/Bergeron broke Waste Management’s hold over disposal in 26 Broward cities. Last week, Sun/Bergeron won a bid to handle Miramar’s waste disposal for five years beginning in 2012.
Ironically, Huizenga got his start at Waste Management before founding Blockbuster and then AutoNation.
The entry of Choice into the mix proves County Commissioner John Rodstrom’s contention. He has wanted to open the business to competition, saying more than just the two companies that bid in Miramar – Waste Management and Sun/Bergeron – are interested in Broward’s multi-million dollar disposal business.
The competition now pits one of the biggest waste firms in the world Waste Management, against two of the Gold Coast’s major business players – Huizenga, long-time successful entrepreneur and wealthy investor Ron Bergeron, the public face of Sun/Bergeron. There could be more players enter.
How this development will affect the attempts by Waste Management to negotiate a contract with various cities behind closed doors is not immediately known. But city managers will be hard pressed to justify any sweetheart deal they develop privately when players like Bergeron and Huizenga are begging to compete, say industry sources.
Choice is a subsidiary of Swisher Environmental, Huizenga’s latest business. He is chairman and long-time Huizenga associate Steven Berrard is chief executive officer. Waste Management is bidding through its subsidiary, Wheelabrator Technologies.