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Gwen Graham ponies up for Rick Scott’s nursing home records

She says the governor has a history of ignoring Sunshine laws
SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
Florida gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham, turns in a personal check for $1,200 to the Office of Open Government. The fee paid to fulfill her public records request for all correspondence relating to Florida Governor Rick Scott's office and the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills. 14 people died at the facility as a result of Hurricane Irma.
SCOTT KEELER | Times Florida gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham, turns in a personal check for $1,200 to the Office of Open Government. The fee paid to fulfill her public records request for all correspondence relating to Florida Governor Rick Scott's office and the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills. 14 people died at the facility as a result of Hurricane Irma.
Published Jan. 8, 2018
Updated Jan. 8, 2018

Blasting Gov. Rick Scott for secrecy, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham today wrote a $1,200 personal check for records into recent nursing home deaths that she said should have been released voluntarily and much sooner.

"This isn't about me or Rick Scott. This is about the 14 seniors who died and the public's right to know the truth. We need to know exactly what went wrong so we can prevent an incident like this from ever happening again," Graham said in a press release. "I wish the governor or Legislature, with all the state's resources, was fully investigating the tragedy and why the state didn't intervene to help — but if they won't do their jobs, I will."

A governor's office spokesman said, "We are finalizing her request and will have it complete very soon."

Graham filed public record requests for information about governor's office involvement role in the tragedy after Hurricane Irma, amid revelations the nursing home had contacted a personal cell phone the governor distributed as an emergency contact line.

After waiting months for a response, Graham last week demanded the records be released and promptly received a $1,200 bill from the governor's office for staff time it said was involved in retrieving them.

"It is troubling and totally unacceptable that Governor Rick Scott has refused to voluntarily release all the records surrounding Hollywood Hills and his office's role in the tragedy. Disappointing, but not surprising, given his history of hiding public records and violating the Sunshine laws," Graham said. "This is a small price to pay for the people of Florida to know the full truth."