Make us your home page

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rick Scott took the Fifth in earlier deposition



What's Rick Scott hiding?

That's the question Bill McCollum's campaign asked Saturday after releasing records of a deposition Scott gave in 2000 in which he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination 75 times.McCollum's people circulated a transcript in which Scott took the Fifth even when asked if he worked for Columbia/HCA Corp., in addition to questions about the firm's accounting and billing practices.

Scott's campaign says the case has nothing to do with the Columbia/HCA case and it was "outrageous," spokeswoman Jen Baker said, that media outlets were citing it matter so close to the election.

According to the McCollum campaign, a document retrieval company, Docutrieval Information Services, asked the Manatee County clerk's office to sanitize the file, which is allowed after seven years. The clerk did so, but gave the company a copy of Scott's deposition, which it made a copy of -- and McCollum's campaign asked for it. What serendipity! (The linkage between the document company and McCollum's campaign is not yet clear).

Scott gave the deposition at his offices in Stamford, Conn., on July 27, 2000, months before Columbia/HCA Corp. settled its massive Medicare fraud case with the federal government. The case was a software dispute, Nevada Communications Corp. v. Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. Scott was represented by Steven Steinbach of Williams & Connolly, a silk-stocking firm in Washington, D.C. The transcript shows Scott was holding a card that carried the words: "Upon advice of counsel, I respectfully decline to answer the question by asserting my rights and privileges under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution."  

Scott says the whole matter is a political stunt. "This is Bill McCollum, a desperate politician who knows he's going to lose," Scott said. "He can't talk about his record because he has no record. So he says, 'I'll get all my insider buddies and we'll beat up on Rick Scott.' "

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 10:22am]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours