TARPON SPRINGS – A Lunch and Learn event will feature journalist and author Craig Pittman on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 11:30 a.m., at the Heritage Museum, 100 Beekman Lane.
Pittman, author of “The Scent of Scandal,” will discuss his work. Cost is $17 for adults and $15 for members and students. Cost includes gourmet-boxed lunch, soft drink and the talk.
Attendees will learn the story of Pittman's true tell-all thriller “The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal and the World's Most Beautiful Orchid.”
After its Peruvian discovery in 2002, Phragmipedium kovachii became the most rare and most sought-after orchid in the world. Prices soared to $10,000 on the black market. When one showed up at the Selby Botanical Gardens, this rare ladyslipper orchid led to search warrants, a grand jury investigation, criminal charges, and headlines around the country.
Pittman, an investigative journalist, unraveled this tangled web and exposed an obsession with beauty, profit and fame that led some people to ignore everything – even the law.
Pittman is a native Floridian.
Born in Pensacola, he graduated from Troy State University in Alabama, where his muckraking work for the student paper prompted an agitated dean to label him "the most destructive force on campus."
Since then he has covered a variety of newspaper beats and quite a few natural disasters, including hurricanes and wildfires. Since 1998, he has covered environmental issues for Florida’s largest newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times.
He has won the Waldo Proffitt Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism in Florida four times, and twice won the top investigative reporting award from the Society of Environmental Journalists. Stories he has written for Sarasota magazine have won three first-place Charlie Awards from the Florida Magazine Association.
He's the co-author, with Matthew Waite, of “Paving Paradise: Florida's Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure of No Net Loss” (2009) and the author of “Manatee Insanity: Inside the War Over Florida's Most Famous Endangered Species” (2010), both published by the University Press of Florida.
His third non-fiction book, “The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World's