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Rick Scott's Trade Trips are No Charlie Crist Euro Tour

May 30, 2013 - 6:00pm

Gov. Rick Scott packed his bags and headed back to Florida after a trip to Chile for a trade mission, marking his eighth overseas trip since he took office in 2011, surpassing the amount of trips his predecessor, Charlie Crist, took during his time as governor. But while the two men may share a goal to promote business with foreign countries, their styles are night and day.

Scott took a three-day trip to Chile last week to promote trade with the South American country. His schedule was chock-full of meetings with Chilean businessmen and companies.

Scotts traveling costs were picked up by Enterprise Florida, which uses private donations from Florida-based companies to cover the governors expenses.

And, it appears Scott went on the cheap.All in all, Enterprise Florida roughly estimates the total cost of the governors trip at about $1,400. That number could go up, Enterprise Florida told Sunshine State News, because the final numbers take around 45 days to compile.

But even as it currently stands, Scotts meager spending on his trip to the South American country paints a stark contrast to his predecessor, who was infamous for his lavish overseas trips, which came with hefty price tags.

A prime example of the sheer extravagance of Crists jaunts took place during the summer of 2008, right as Floridas economy was beginning to tank. The former governor and 65 members of his entourage went on a 12-day European tour, making stops in London, Paris, Madrid, and St. Petersburg.The original cost of Crists trip was supposed to be $255,000, but inflated and nearly doubled by the end.

The taxpayers price tag? $430,000.

The state was already dealing with a $2 billion deficit while Crist and his posse blew hundreds of thousands of dollars on hotels, meals, and dry cleaning.

Scotts not entirely off the hook. He spent $30,000 taxpayer dollars for bodyguards, but even those fees pale in comparison to Crists charge-happy travel extravaganzas. In fact, the total cost of six of Scotts overseas missions capped out at less than one Crist euro tour. Scott's total? $332,000.

Crist, on the other hand, was reminiscent of a teenage girl taking her parents credit card to the mall, except in this scenario, Crist & Co. were lodging in $2,000-a-night rooms on taxpayers dime.

The former governor was such a prima donna that he constantly traveled -- and still does -- with a fan so he wouldnt look sweaty when he gave speeches. The fan even had its own Twitter account, which still keeps tweeting to this day even though its nearly three years old.

The jurys still out on whether Scotts trip to Chile will end up costing more than its original estimate, but the preliminary results already suggest the governors doing a better job at keeping cash in the bank than Charlie Crist.

Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at

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