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Ethics panel signs off on Gov. Scott's blind trust

The Florida Ethics Commission this morning said Gov. Rick Scott's investments in five national companies with interests in Florida posed no conflict of interest. The panel also signed off on a proposal from Scott to put tens of millions in investments into a blind trust.

Scott asked the commission to weigh in on four investments in four companies - Energy Transfer Equity L.P.; Enterprise Products Partners, L.P.; Inergy, L.P.; Republic Services, Inc.- that operate subsidiaries in Florida and a fifth, Vestar Capital Partners, that owns the stock in 21st Century Oncology, a Florida-based corporation.

The commission agreed that Scott's shares in the companies were too small to matter. "Given the scope of the governor's investment portfolio, none of these investments are so proportionally large as to provide a particular temptation to dishonor," Phil Claypool, the commission's executive director, wrote in his recommendation.

The commission also decided that Scott could put his assets into a blind trust, which could then invest in Florida companies without Scott's knowledge.

Scott asked for the opinion after repeated questions about his controlling interest in Solantic, a chain of Jacksonville-based walk-in clinics regulated by the state. Scott has agreed to sell the company, but has not finalized the deal, a spokesman said today.

Posted by Michael C Bender at 10:25:37 am on May 13, 2011