United CEO Oscar Munoz Pays $24,000 Fine for Stealing Sand From a Beach

In the days following the David Dao passenger beating incident onboard a United Express plane, the airline’s CEO was chided for bicycle riding in front of his $6 million Florida mansion. Now that mansion has him in trouble in a different way.

Credit: Daily Mail

In March I wrote that Oscar Munoz was being investigated by the State of Florida for ‘sand scraping’ or stealing sand from the beach to create dunes in the yard of his Florida home. The Department of Environmental Quality said Munoz and three neighbors “may have skirted laws designed to protect the state’s natural resources.”

Hurricanes Matthew and Irma wiped out the dunes in front of his home. A neighbor shot video of “two earth movers scooping sand from the public beach last week and hauling it toward four private homes” and turned in the neighbors.

Florida’s Department of Environmental Quality found he purchased basic economy landscaping which doesn’t come with any free dunes proposed to fine the United CEO $58,625. However he agreed to pay $24,000 ‘voluntarily’ to settle the matter.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection inspected Munoz’s Ponte Vedra Beach property in March in response to complaints about sand scraping. The investigation revealed possible violations of state laws about beach sand excavation east of the Coastal Construction Control Line.

The FDEP sent a warning letter to Catherine Munoz, Oscar Munoz’s wife, after that inspection. The letter asked them to stop taking sand from the beach to make dunes in front of their home.

The fine is because he and his wife “harm[ed] these economically and environmentally important natural resources” however they weren’t asked to put the sand back because it “would have been counterproductive during turtle season.”

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Obviously, Munoz’s sand “fine” tells us nothing about the guy. I’m guessing some contractor told him and his neighbors that they could move the sand and they did so. Bad advice.

    What does seem outrageous is the previous criticism of him bicycling in the aftermath of the David Dao incident. Munoz recently needed a heart transplant. Do you really not want the guy to get some exercise during a rather mild (and pretty stupid) crisis? Was he supposed to be sucking up to Dao 24/7? Idiotic.

  2. Guess you got to keep the sand after all, “de nada Oscar”.

    You’re no better than a two-bit criminal stealing cigarettes from a liquor store.

  3. Good thing Oscar’s home is in Ponte Vedra Beach many miles upcoast of Palm Beach or Robert Mueller would have subpoenaed him to see if he had any dirt on Trump. Envision the FBI sifting through Oscar’s beach sand looking for any signs of Russian sand from Little Moscow (aka Sunny Isles Beach). The Hollywood Madam Mueller is now courting may hold the key to finding out if the cement poured in the Trump branded condo in Sunny Isles was actually mixed with Little Moscow sand. If true, expect the Democrats to cry for imbeachment!

  4. @chopsticks. And I guess we can all start committing crimes as long as we use a contractor? LOL. Even if the situation described happened, however unlikely as you proposed, a beach homeowner can’t escape negligence when they hired a guy to bulldoze sand off a protected beach.

  5. I guess the State of Florida wants to be nice to him or they would have made him pay the full fine , done community service and purchased additional sand that he would have to pay to put back when turtle season wa over. But when your kissing ass to United you don’t do that. Sounds like Florida State is bribing United.

  6. Department of Environmental Quality???

    Department of Environmental Protection

  7. I flew UA over the weekend for the first time in years. I was very confused at the safety video, very noisy and poorly done (mardi gras scenes or whatever they were going for left me wondering what was going on rather than thinking about the actual safety message). Does FAA approve safety briefings?

    I was also disappointed that there were recorded messages that would play when certain events happened, like the seat belt sign turning on, and then immediately following the recorded message FA would come on and say the same thing.

    And FA service in F was awful. Breakfast was served, I had ordered a special meal but had forgotten about it. FA came around to verify I had ordered it and told me it didn’t sound very good…I ordered the Asian Vegetable meal, “Asian Veg doesn’t sound very good, did you order the Asian Veg?” The other options were an egg sandwich or oatmeal. When my meal arrived it was oatmeal, the only difference between that and the egg sandwich choice was a weird non fig newton cookie.

    Needless to say I’m really glad I don’t have to fly UA all that much…

  8. It’s the contractor’s job & duty to know these laws and refuse an illegal request. So I disagree with BB, unless Mr. Munoz asked the contractor to do it anyway after he warned him.

  9. Not sure if Munoz new about this issue with a sand…could be that contractor just moved it without his knowledge or permission…But one thing is for sure… he is an affirmative action hero with no competency to be CEO of United…poor decision making, lack of accountability, supporting liberal agenda…do you want me to continue?

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