Four days before she filed her paperwork to run for governor, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried amended two forms to disclose she made a substantial amount more as a marijuana lobbyist than previously reported.
The first change, a last-minute amendment to her 2018 financial disclosure forms first reported by blog Tallahassee Reports, shows that Fried, 43, changed the amount of annual income she made from her consulting firm Igniting Florida from $72,000 to $351,480 on Friday, May 28, days before she announced that she will seek the Democratic nomination to run for governor against incumbent Ron DeSantis. The form was first amended in January 2020 to reflect the $72,000 income for the first time.
A 2020 form says the major source of the firm’s income was Fried’s client San Felasco Nurseries, a medical marijuana license holder that sold in 2018 to Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. Harvest was recently acquired by Quincy-based marijuana giant Trulieve, and Fried listed about $200,000 invested in the company on her 2019 financial disclosure forms.
She also amended her 2017 disclosure forms Friday, which were filed with the Florida Division of Elections, raising her recorded consulting income from $84,000 to $165,761.
In total, the amendments filed Friday added $361,241 to her previously reported income from before she was elected in 2018.
The forms, required by all elected constitutional officers and candidates, detail a disclosure of assets, liabilities, net worth and sources of income over $1,000. According to a Florida Commission on Ethics rule, a person may amend a statement of financial interests “any time after filing the disclosure form.”
If there is a formal complaint filed, however, the disclosure must be amended within 30 days.
Fried’s campaign said the discrepancies in the numbers were filing errors of which they were unaware until very recently.
“When filing the form in 2018, Commissioner Fried provided her attorney with her salary for the 2018 calendar year, roughly six months of income,” spokesman Max Flugrath wrote in a text. “We realized 2017 gross income, including all her business’ income and reimbursements, should have been reported, not just her salary.”
Flugrath said all of her assets had been disclosed, and that the only update was to her income.
“When we were made aware of the filing error, we amended the forms to provide full transparency,” he said.
Flugrath said the January 2020 amendment was made to “to remedy a calculation error on net worth,” noting that the filing was made before she had filed her taxes.
Fried founded one-woman lobbying shop Igniting Florida in 2016, named after her student government party at the University of Florida.
She’ll face U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, a St. Petersburg Democrat and former Republican governor, in the Democratic primary. Crist announced his run last month.
The primary election is Aug. 23, 2022, and the general election is Nov. 8, 2022.
This story was updated to reflect additional amendments to Fried’s financial disclosures.