When Thomas Grady left another state job in March to become interim president of Citizens Property Insurance, he sent his staff a goodbye letter that urged:
"Think different. Be heard. But most of all, suck the marrow out of life, inside and outside the office.''
Grady, a millionaire Naples securities lawyer and friend of Gov. Rick Scott, seems to have taken his own advice. In less than two months at state-run Citizens, he spent nearly $10,000 on expensive hotel rooms, airplane trips, a limo ride and a three-night stay in Bermuda.
And those business expenses don't include the cost of criss-crossing Florida in May when he met with newspaper editorial boards for a "listening tour'' as he lobbied unsuccessfully to get the Citizens job permanently. Grady was passed over last week in favor of an out-of-state replacement.
On Tuesday, Grady defended his expenses, saying he was trying to immerse himself in his new duties, which required meeting with Citizens' employees and board members and others in the insurance industry. He also said he saved the company "tens of thousands of dollars" by refusing some reimbursements and declining to join other Citizens employees and board members on an April trip to London to meet with insurers.