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Politics

Court Blocks Lawsuit Wanting Scott to Disclose More about His Assets

December 3, 2018 - 6:00am
Rick Scott
Rick Scott

An appeals court Friday blocked a lawsuit aimed at requiring Gov. Rick Scott to disclose more information about his financial assets, saying such issues should be handled by the Florida Commission on Ethics.

Scott, the wealthiest governor in state history, took the issue to the 1st District Court of Appeal after a Leon County circuit judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Tallahassee attorney Donald Hinkle. The case centered, in part, on whether Scott should have provided more information about assets in a blind trust when filing state financial-disclosure forms.

A three-judge panel of the appeals court granted what is known as a “writ of prohibition” barring the circuit judge from taking any further action in the case. The five-page ruling agreed with Scott’s argument that only the Commission on Ethics “has constitutional authority to investigate Mr. Hinkle’s complaint.”

“When the Florida Constitution prescribes the manner of doing something, doing it in a different manner is prohibited,” said the ruling by appeals-court judges Lori Rowe, Timothy Osterhaus and Ross Bilbrey. “And here, where the circuit court has assumed improper authority over a matter outside of its jurisdiction, and with another administrative body having been granted explicit jurisdiction by the Florida Constitution and the statutory scheme to review the complaint, it is appropriate to grant a writ of prohibition.”

State officials, such as Scott, are required to file financial-disclosure forms each year that list information about assets, liabilities and income. Scott, however, placed his assets in a blind trust while in office and, as a result, his disclosures largely lacked details about his wide variety of financial holdings.

In June, Scott filed a state financial-disclosure form showing a net worth as of Dec. 31, 2017 of nearly $232.6 million. In July, as part of his successful U.S. Senate campaign, Scott was required to file a more-detailed federal report, which provided a wide range of information about his finances and the finances of his wife, Ann.  

Also, Scott filed an updated state financial-disclosure report in September that said he revoked the blind trust on July 25. As a result, the September report provides details about the $232.6 million net worth cited in the earlier report.

Hinkle, a Democratic fundraiser, filed the lawsuit in Leon County circuit court seeking more disclosure after earlier taking complaints to the Commission on Ethics. The commission dismissed his complaints.

Hinkle said in July, as the appeals court heard arguments, that there needs to be “mechanism” to appeal financial-disclosure decisions by the ethics commission.

“I urge the court not to allow the Commission on Ethics to say we’re not considering this and that be the end of the road,” Hinkle said.

During the July hearing, Hinkle also rejected the notion that the case was moot because Scott was required to file the broader federal disclosure for his U.S. Senate campaign.

“I don’t think it’s moot at all,” Hinkle said. “This applies to every office-holder, not just the governor.”

Comments

Who cares what he is worth, this is nothing more then a Democrat jealous of what Gov. Scott has.

Being a Public Servant opens you up to financial disclosure and legal obligations. They are defined in statute and the constitution. To avoid this, the legislature defined legislation that allows transfer of assets into "blind trusts" that are allegedly run by outside entities. The problem with Scott, and many others, is when these "blind trusts" start making investments and large sums of money with corporations that have state contracts. This starts to look like racketeering, and likely would be to the private citizen, but not to public servants with "blind trusts". We have transitioned to a government to the highest bidder, instead of the people. The politicians, are really just "plants" financed to run for office to protect their corporate financial masters' interests. Along the way, they have bastardized legislation to allow them to make a killing off of investments in state government through what is largely legalized insider trading. This is what our representation has become...

As with Trump, no one will ever know the truth about Scott's assets. We'll just have to be satisfied with knowing all about the ass portion.

Scott's financial assets are NOBODY'S BUSINESS, BUT HIS OWN ! (HINKLE is just one more scheming, Democ rat, schuyster (out of many) slinking along the basement hallways of Tallahassee, searching for a way to 'appear' more "constituent, taxpayer oriented" than ANY OTHER DEMOCRAT "slinking" along side of him on a daily basis...). If 'transparency' and 'honor' were "coin of the realm",.. (Democrats would be bereft of "coinage", and "drummed out of every government entity in the Republic"

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