Report: Gov. Scott now willing to divest family stake in Solantic clinic chain
Wake up and good morning. Florida Gov. Rick Scott's taken heat over his $62 million family stake in the chain of walk-in clinics known as Solantic that he founded. Scott has insisted that simply moving that stake into his wife's name is adequate to shield the governor from any concerns over conflicts of interest. And Scott has stated the state will not contract any work to Solantic while he is governor. (Photo: Rick and Ann Scott, by Colin Hackley.)
Case closed? Apparently not. A Clearwater activist has filed an ethics complaint accusing Scott of using his office to benefit the chain of walk-in clinics he founded, the St. Petersburg Times reports here. But the Palm Beach Post says here that Scott now "is in the process of divesting his family’s shares of Solantic, the urgent care chain that Scott co-founded in 2001, to eliminate any perception of a conflict of interest."
Better late than never...
States the Post: "The Scott family’s Solantic shares are privately held, not publicly traded, and Scott cannot quickly divest them, (Scott) spokesman (Brian) Burgess argued. 'I get that people think there’s a conflict, but I don’t get what people think should be done about it,' Burgess said. 'If he can’t divest instantly, what should he do?'
Well, here are some suggestions. How about putting the stake in a blind trust rather than insist that handing it to his wife is adequate? Why not formalize a plan, in public, with an independent financial firm to sell off the stake over time so that the entire sum does not get dumped on the market at once?
Solantic was co-founded in Jacksonville in 2001 by health care veterans Rick Scott and Karen Bowling. Here's more history.
The Post adds that Scott has been distancing himself from the company for more than a year, leaving its board, then ceasing regular calls with Solantic’s executives. During the campaign, Scott put the value of his Solantic shares at $62 million. (Solantic photo courtesy of Solantic.)
$62 million? That's less than Scott spent on his campaign for governor.
-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, St. Petersburg Times