Developer plays dirty, gets Chris Brennan fired

You’ll recall from a previous segment that Chris Brennan, Florida native son and environmental activist, made a video to raise awareness about a proposed development project called Marina Lofts being considered for construction along the New River that intends to displace and likely kill the massive and protected, nearly 100-year-old rain tree that is the oldest of its kind in North America and stands on the property at 424 SW 24th avenue in Historic Downtown Fort Lauderdale.

That video has since circulated like wildfire and caught the attention of the developer, himself, Mr. Asi Cymbal, pictured here:

Asi Cymbal

“A real estate developer has a moral obligation to leave its environment better than it found it. It doesn’t take more money to produce a beautiful project. It merely requires sensitivity and thoughtfulness.”



He’s the chief chip at Cymbal Development who, rather than seek out Chris Brennan personally, did so via his employer, the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi, to complain about the video. The complaint, however, had little effect as Mr. Brennan’s boss indicated then that what his employees do in their own time was their own business.

Well, as it turns out, Asi Cymbal of Cymbal Development, the very developer trying to push Marina Lofts on Fort Lauderdale, happens to own the property on which the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi base operates, thus making the Water Taxi his property tenant.

It seems, Mr. Cymbal, displeased with the lack of interest Mr. Brennan’s boss seemed to have in his {Brennan’s} personal activities and with evident concern about the negative impact that the Florida Fidelity video is creating in his development efforts, made a second call to the Water Taxi, flexed his landlord muscle and forced the hand of Bill Walker, Water Taxi owner, to issue an ultimatum to Chris Brennan to back down or be terminated. Mr. Brennan refused the “offer”. Citing a “conflict of interest,” Erik Johnson, Water Taxi G.M. sent this email to his staff on Friday morning last:

Subject: Cymbal Development
Good afternoon all,

 As many of you are aware, the Water Taxi Base facility is owned by real estate developer Cymbal Development who plans to build a residential and commercial complex. The project is still in the planning phases at the city and county level and has a number of steps to go before construction begins.

Part of the project includes moving the rain tree from the empty lot west of our building to the southeast corner of the property. Moving this tree has been a controversial topic, one that Chris Brennan has publicly opposed.

Because Water Taxi is a tenant of Cymbal Development, Chris’ actions are in conflict with the company’s interest, and he was terminated today.

If you have any questions about this development project, please do not hesitate to contact Bill Walker or myself.


Erik Johnson
General Manager
Water Taxi of Fort Lauderdale
Tel – (954) 467-0008
Fax – (954) 728-8417
Cell – (781) 864-6777


Chris Brennan will not back down, nor will he be swayed by threats.  As a native Floridian, he has seen pristine native treasures vanish in quick succession in the name of progress as developers continue to claim the land and replace natural beauty with concrete monstrosities, too many of which still have low occupancy rates and do little to boost the local economy as every hungry developer promises their buildings will do.

Mr. Brennan, affectionately known as Captain Loogie,  has earned a solid reputation for his good works in the community and has served Fort Lauderdale well, not only as a life-long resident, but also through his lengthy career as a Broward County Park Ranger from 1998 to 2007 when the county finally outsourced the park program to Wackenhut Security. As the variety of subjects that his Florida Fidelity videos clearly display, Captain Loogie’s  interest has always been to preserve the natural beauty and historical virtue of not just Fort Lauderdale, but the entire state of Florida as well.

Speaking out about this particular project  has cost him his livelihood at the Water Taxi where he had worked since 2007 with an exemplary employment record. Thanks to  the very wealthy Mr. Asi Cymbal who would have us believe that he is  “moral”, “sensitive” and “thoughtful”, is anything but and Mr. Brennan is now unemployed.

I believe, perhaps that Mr. Cymbal, who has clearly shown that he’ll play dirty to steamroll his agenda through our city, has underestimated the sheer number of people in our community who stand in support of Chris Brennan and are pouring out in force after hearing of his plight.

There is no questioning the caliber of people who hold Chris Brennan in high esteem; over the years he has caught the attention of the likes of  NPR, who did a segment on him in July 2011, and is a guy who is even mentioned by name in the latest Tim Dorsey novel. You’ve heard of Tim Dorsey, the famous Florida author and New York Times Best Seller with sixteen books to his credit, all of which are set in Florida?  Well, Mr.Dorsey describes Mr. Brennan in his new book thusly:

“Everything’s fine now. We’re in Captain Loogie’s hands.  Don’t be thrown by his long haired, friend-of-the-earth hippie appearance. In a pinch, he can knock out local history with the best.”

We’re rooting that he’ll knock out dirty developers as well.


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4 pings

  1. brandi says:

    this is a total disgrace….justice is due for the situation and cpt loogie himself

  2. Mary Zoeller says:

    Broward County should be very proud of Chris Brennan. This young man is an ecologist,naturalist,historian and someone who is needed by our community. For once we have a community champion,someone who would rather lose his employment than cave to the unscrupulous money grabbers who litter our area. Mr. Mayor,create a position for Chris so he can use his many talents to thefullest. Lets back Chris.

  3. Marcy says:

    Having been a long time resident of Ft.Lauderdale, and now residing in Colorado, Mr Brennan is more than welcomed to come and live in this great, nature conscience minded state of Colorado. This subject was emailed to us thru our daughter, amber,Fl resident, who was a classmate and long time friend of Chris. So cross the “Big Muddy” river and come on board to Colorado, where we do appreciate caring, nature heros like you…

  4. Larry T Clemons says:

    If the Developers and Their Marketing Team where on Top Of Their Game (I mean, this is the 21 ST Century), They would ” Include, This World Class ECO Magnet TREE “, into their Ad Campaign for The Building and it’s Future World Living Concept…” Man with Nature “. If they positioned themselves, this way from the Beginning , They would be getting Local, State, National and Worldwide PRESS, for the Storyline and the Architecture …And, of course, in the Heart Of The Yacht Capitol Of The World, FORT LAUDERDALE, doesn’t Hurt. With this CONCEPT of working with the Tree as Importantly as YOU WOULD the Building, your Rents would be able to increase by 20% to 30%…It would actually be a ” Wiser ” direction, even from a ” Strictly Business “, Return on Investment position for the Shareholders….And , think of all the Good Will You would receive from the City, it’s People and Our Visitors. Let’s All Be Honest, The Waterway, with The Tree, is more VALUABLE from every Level, …there’s ” Miles ” of that Waterway ” And NOW THERE IS A MARTYR ” ! Who is this Developer’s PR Team, Wow, did they blow this…

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