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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Tom Grady, Florida's former financial regulation commissioner, was liberal personal spender



Last fall, Florida Office of Financial Regulation Commissioner Tom Grady praised an investigator in the agency's Pensacola office who helped crack a $3 million mortgage fraud scheme.

"Thanks to (her) leadership,'' Grady said, "the OFR is doing its part to put bad guys behind bars.''

Even as he touted that success, Grady was paving the way to close the Pensacola office and three others — half of OFR's regional offices.

The closings, which took effect this month, were part of Grady's mission to slash costs at the state agency that oversees mortgage brokers, banks and securities firms. The moves come even as a new report shows Florida continues to lead the nation in mortgage fraud.

Grady, now back in the private sector, defended the office closures. He insisted resources devoted to financial investigations actually increased while he cut back in areas already handled by other agencies.

In his six months running OFR, the Naples millionaire and friend of Gov. Rick Scott proved a study in contrasts — a fiscal conservative who embraced Scott's cost-cutting ethos yet a liberal spender who:

• Charged the state more than $800 to go to Atlanta for a two-day banking conference, but skipped the second day when he left for a week's vacation in Utah.

• Spent more than $6,000 on in-state travel, including $296 for a night at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota and $240 for a night at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay.

• Sought reimbursement for more than $10,000 worth of office furniture, including a $2,482 leather sofa and a $563 floor lamp.

Story here.

[Last modified: Monday, July 16, 2012 9:19am]


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