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Attorney General Pam Bondi will amend disclosure form that shows no income for 2010, no bank accounts

TALLAHASSEE — In financial disclosures filed last week, Attorney General Pam Bondi reported earning no income in 2010 when she was a candidate for office.

No checking, savings or retirement accounts are reported, either. She lists her net worth at $472,696, with her only assets a home, valued at $635,400, and a car.

Yet Bondi was still able to lower her liabilities in 2010 by $15,961 to $348,704.

After fielding questions from the Times/Herald on Thursday, spokeswoman Jennifer Meale said Bondi will amend her 2009 and 2010 disclosure forms "to provide the checking account balances that were unintentionally omitted on the original forms."

Bondi, who is engaged to ophthalmologist Greg Henderson, quit her job in the Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office in December 2009 so she could campaign for attorney general and thus had no income in 2010.

A disclosure form filed in June 2010 to document her 2009 financial status shows income of $133,685 from her job in the State Attorney's Office.

Meale said about $100,000 of that came from paychecks, and the remainder is a leave-time payout that was deposited in a checking account.

But that disclosure, like the latest one, also failed to show any bank accounts.

The forms require financial data as of Dec. 31 of the reporting year.

"If you have a checking or savings account on Dec. 31 of the previous year, you have to show it if it's over $1,000," said Tallahassee election law lawyer Mark Herron. "If your checking account is empty on Dec. 31, or it's under $1,000, you don't have to report it. But it's curious that the new report plus the one from last year, that it was under $1,000, too."

That should raise a red flag, he said.

"If you're making payments on a loan that's significant, you think you're going to have some money in a checking account," he said.

Bondi has been enrolled in the state's pension plan for more than 19 years. Payouts are based on years of service, salary history and other factors. The pension, though, which has no cash value until retirement, doesn't need to be listed on financial disclosure forms, Herron said.

"People make mistakes all the time on their financial disclosures," Herron said. "Most of them come from not reading the form."

Typically, he said, fines for such violations range from $300 to $500.

Bondi said she relied on her accountant when completing her 2009 form as a candidate and used that as a template for the 2010 disclosure. Nancy Watkins, one of Florida's best-known Republican campaign finance managers, was Bondi's campaign treasurer. Watkins did not return a call for comment.

The latest disclosure forms show that Bondi has more liabilities than her fellow Cabinet members.

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater lists his at only $65,073. His net worth is $1.6 million. Nearly $1 million of that is in a retirement account.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam lists $122,895 worth of liabilities. His net worth is $6.8 million. His biggest asset is $2.4 million ownership interest in Putnam Groves Inc.

Janet Zink can be reached at jzink@sptimes.com or (850) 224-7263.

Read Bondi's disclosure

See the form Attorney General Pam Bondi

filed for 2010 at links.tampabay.com.

Attorney General Pam Bondi will amend disclosure form that shows no income for 2010, no bank accounts 07/07/11 [Last modified: Thursday, July 7, 2011 10:38pm]
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