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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Democrats see HCA redux in Rick Scott's Solantic presser



Florida Democratic Party spokesman Eric "burnin-down-the-house" Jotkoff put his matches away and played it straight today in an e-mail that uses news clips to collate Rick Scott's presser yesterday (where he refused to release a "private" deposition) with his performance in 1997 when the Columbia/HCA issue started to explode:

When Rick Scott was asked at a press conference if he would release a video deposition he gave in April, 2010, six days before declaring his candidacy for governor of Florida, Scott said seven different times, that he would not because it was a private matter.....

At Columbia/HCA’s Annual Meeting In 1997, Two Months After FBI Agents Raided Columbia Offices In El Paso, Scott Would Not Comment On Federal Investigation, Saying, “We’re Not In A Position To Have Any Public Comment.”  In May, 1997 the AP reported Rick Scott's comments at the annual meeting with shareholders regarding the federal investigations of Columbia hospitals : "Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. chief Richard Scott didn't answer the question on everyone's mind: why federal regulators are investigating the nation's largest for-profit hospital chain. 'As you know, we're involved in an investigation and litigation. We're not in a position to have any public comment,' the company's president and chief executive repeatedly told shareholders at the company's annual meeting Thursday in Nashville.  'We don't know anything,' Scott told reporters at a luncheon before the meeting. 'We don't know what the allegations are'” [Associated Press, 5/15/97] 

Scott Also Refused To Respond To Questions From Shareholders, And Ordered One Questioner To Sit Down.  In May, 1997 the St. Petersburg Times reported: "Rick Scott, chairman and chief executive officer, refused to respond to numerous questions about the performance of three directors up for re-election to the board. He even ordered one persistent questioner to sit down." [St. Petersburg Times, 5/16/97]  

Shareholders Didn’t Like Scott’s Attitude And Called On Him To ‘Come Clean.’ In May, 1997 the Associated Press reported on Columbia's annual meeting: 'Throughout the meeting, Scott told shareholders to sit down and wait until business was completed. Activist stockholders didn't like Scott's attitude, calling his actions a dodge and urging him to come clean on matters that were affecting the value of their holdings." [Associated Press, 5/15/97] 

Scott Was Escorted Out Of The Meeting Through A Side Door Into One Of Two Vans Full Of Guards. According to the Associated Press, in May, 1997,  “Security was high at the [Columbia/HCA Annual Meeting] meeting, which was held in a hotel ballroom instead of the company's headquarters. Scott was escorted from the building through a side door and into one of two vans full of guards." [Associated Press, 5/15/97]

Mike Wallace: “I Have Seldom Seen A Better Orchestrated Stonewall Than That Undertaken By Columbia/HCA.”  In April, 1997 Modern Healthcare wrote of Columbia's relations with the media, "Columbia's defensive press strategy existed long before federal agents raided the company's El Paso, Texas." 60 Minutes' Mike Wallace said, "I have seldom seen a better orchestrated stonewall than that undertaken by Columbia/HCA... If they have nothing to hide about the way that they operate, then why in the world would a public corporation stonewall '60 Minutes' or everyone else in the press who wants to talk to Richard Scott?"[Modern Healthcare, 4/14/97]


[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 10:19am]


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