The ‘Truth about Fruth’: Chamber ‘economist’ has no economics degree, lies about real estate license, promotes ‘hare-brained theory’

William Fruth (from his website)

Sherlock continues: In his appearance on the Martin County Matters radio show on WSTU last week, William H. Fruth, the economic development consultant who was paid $20,000 by the Stuart/Martin County Chamber of Commerce to produce a report calling for more development outside the urban services boundary, Howard Heims asked why Mr. Fruth did not disclose that he and his wife are realtors.  Fruth indignantly denied what he called Howard’s  “nasty accusation” and said “I’ve never in my life been a realtor.” He said his wife “used to be in the real estate business but has not been in it for at least two years.”  Mr. Fruth implied that Howard was either lying or spreading false information to impugn the Fruth study, and Howard was not given an opportunity to refute Mr. Fruth’s statements.

Below are copies of records maintained by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation which include 1. an affidavit signed under oath by Mr. Fruth when he applied for his real estate broker’s license in which he swears that “I have been active as a real estate salesman for at least six months” and 2. the broker’s license presently held by Mr. Fruth.  Mrs. Fruth’s license is current and lists Mr. Fruth as her employer-broker.  Both Mr. Fruth and Mrs. Fruth updated their contact information with the DBPR licensing division when they moved last year.

In response to questions about the figures and data relied upon by Mr. Fruth in reaching his conclusion that Martin County needs more industrial land available for development (i.e., more agricultural land should be converted to higher-cost industrial land), Mr. Fruth said his analyses have never been challenged or questioned anywhere but in Martin County.  This, of course, is contrary to the previously circulated Norman (Oklahoma) Transcript column in which a member of the Norman, Oklahoma, Chamber of Commerce referred to Fruth’s “hare-brained theory” that universities do not contribute to economic development and may, in some cases, inhibit economic growth.

Finally, Mr. Fruth, who says he has bachelor of science and a master of arts degrees in journalism, communications, and political theory from Bowling Green State University, referred to himself during the WSTU appearance as “an economist,” in spite of the fact that he has no degree in any field remotely related to economics.  He is at most an economic development professional, like Ron Bunch, the former executive director of the Martin County Business Development Board who got much of his experience in Danville, Virginia, which Mr. Fruth identifies as one of the 10 worst metropolitan areas in the country with respect to economic strength during each of the last nine years.

Maggy Hurchalla will be appearing on the Martin County Matters show on WSTU on July 24.  We suggest you tune in to get the truth about Martin County’s economic health.

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