Former U.S. Rep. and candidate for governor Gwen Graham announced Friday she is filing a public records request for information about Gov. Rick Scott’s cell phone communications during and after Hurricane Irma.
Of particular interest to Graham are voice mails left on Scott’s cell phone from administrators in the Hollywood nursing home that overheated, resulting in the deaths of 12 patients.
“Why would they have deleted voicemails in the middle of a crisis? These weren’t transitory scheduling requests. These were Floridians asking for help in a crisis,” Graham said in a release. “I won’t take Governor Rick Scott’s word for it. The people of Florida deserve to hear these voicemails — they deserve to hear the truth. ”
Here is Graham’s entire release:
TALLAHASSEE, Fla —Gwen Graham has filed additional public record requests for all communications surrounding Rick Scott’s private phone number given to nursing homes and all communications in the governor’s office, the Agency for Healthcare Administration and Department of Children and Families concerning the deaths at Hollywood Hills nursing home.
“Twelve Floridians have died and we still don’t have a full picture of what went wrong. The governor seems more concerned with pointing fingers than actually getting to the truth of how this happened and investigating why his office didn’t do more to help,” Graham said. “There’s no question Hollywood Hills should have called 911 — but the question still remains, could the state have done more to help?”
“The legislature should be investigating the governor’s actions and possible cover-up, but two decades of one-party government has left us with a Republican House and Senate unwilling to provide any oversight of the governor,” Graham said. “When they refuse to do their job, to defend Florida’s most vulnerable citizens — I will.”
Graham is also calling for the governor to make all possible efforts, including contacting the phone carrier, to recover deleted voicemails left by Hollywood Hills nursing home administrators.
“Throughout his administration, Governor Rick Scott has shown a complete disrespect for the spirit and letter of the Sunshine Laws,” Graham said. “Why would they have deleted voicemails in the middle of a crisis? These weren’t transitory scheduling requests. These were Floridians asking for help in a crisis. I won’t take Governor Rick Scott’s word for it. The people of Florida deserve to hear these voicemails — they deserve to hear the truth.”
Under Governor Rick Scott and the current cabinet, the state of Florida has spent more than $1 million of taxpayer funds defending and settling public record violations.
In addition to asking for records from the governor’s office, Graham is also asking for related records from the state’s Agency for Healthcare Administration and Florida Department of Children Families, which reportedly told one nursing home patient’s daughter, “There’s nothing we can do.”
“Throughout hurricane Irma my staff and I did all we could to help as many people as we could. When Floridians tweeted at us for help, we reached out to see what we could do. When a veteran was turned away from a shelter, we found him a place to sleep safely through the storm. That’s the kind of treatment the people of Florida deserve from their elected officials,” Graham said.