Thursday, December 14, 2017
Politics

Rick Scott is worth $83.8M, report shows

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott's net worth increased last year to $83.8 million, up slightly from the year before, according to his financial statement published Monday by the Florida Commission on Ethics.

Scott, 60, a self-made millionaire and former chief executive of the nation's largest for-profit hospital network, reported a net worth of $83 million in 2011.

The increase is largely thanks to investment gains and a higher evaluation of Scott's Naples home.

Scott had reported a net worth of $218.6 million when he first ran for office in 2010, before he pumped $75 million of his own money into his successful campaign as an outsider promising to revive Florida's economy.

"The financial disclosure process is just one of the ways we maintain transparency and how taxpayers can hold their public officials accountable," Scott said in a statement.

The governor's largest single disclosed asset is a $9.2 million waterfront home he and his wife, Ann, own. A part of the increase in his bottom line came from a higher valuation of the house, from $9 million the year before, by the Collier County property appraiser.

That's still significantly less than the $11.5 million the Scotts paid for the house in 2003, when they moved to Florida from Connecticut.

Scott stores most of his assets in a blind trust managed by a third party, which is meant to be a safeguard against conflicts of interest.

The assets in the trust total $72.9 million, an increase from $71.5 million the year before. Because the assets are in a blind trust, there's no way of knowing what assets gained and lost value in the past year.

Florida's new ethics law, passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Scott, includes a mechanism for blind trusts.

But lawmakers excluded provisions sought by the Commission on Ethics, including one that would have required disclosure of assets placed in a trust. Integrity Florida, an ethics watchdog group, calls Florida's blind trust provision "problematic."

"In practice, the public is left blind, with less access to information to hold officials accountable," said Dan Krassner, executive director of the group.

The trust is managed by Hollow Brook Associates LLC of New York. Scott's financial disclosure was prepared by Kerry Balthrop, a certified public accountant in Keller, Texas.

Scott is far and away the richest governor in Florida history. He accepts no salary and travels on his private jet for official business.

The governor's new airplane, a Cessna Citation, doesn't appear on his financial statement because it's not in his name. The plane is listed in the name of a Naples business that lists Ann Scott as an officer.

Other assets are held in a revocable trust in Ann Scott's name that by law is not required to be disclosed.

Elected officials' financial disclosure statements were due Monday, and reflect assets and liabilities as of the previous Dec. 31.

The new ethics law requires the state to post officials' financial disclosure forms online for the first time. They are available at ethics.state.fl.us.

Contact Steve Bousquet at [email protected] or (850) 224-7263.

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