Lawsuit challenges Fla. Gov. use of blind trust

“This is not an attack on Gov. Scott,” D’Alemberte said. “This is a chance to say, hell, it’s in the Constitution.”

The suit seeks emergency court action because candidates must submit candidacy papers, including financial disclosure statements, the week of June 16-20.

Constitutional challenge targets Gov. Rick Scott’s use of blind trust law

A year-old state law that allows elected officials to place their assets in a blind trust instead of reporting each investment publicly violates Florida’s constitution, according to a legal challenge filed Wednesday with the state Supreme Court.

A former top aide to the late Gov. Reubin Askew filed an emergency petition with the high court that asks to court to rule on the issue before state candidates start qualifying for the ballot next month.

So far, Gov. Rick Scott, who was a wealthy businessman before getting elected in 2010, is the only state official who has chosen to place his finances in a blind trust.

Scott, the richest governor in Florida’s history, listed every one of his investments when he ran for governor in 2010, and showed a net worth of $218.6 million.

He spent at least $73 million of his own money on the campaign.

With the approval of the state Commission on Ethics, and following a rule used by federal executive branch officials, Scott formed a blind trust in 2011. He held investments in companies that were regulated by the state and said he wanted to avoid conflicts of interest.

In 2013, acting on the advice of a statewide grand jury and the Commission on Ethics, the Legislature unanimously passed legislation (SB 2) regulating blind trusts and setting the powers and duties of appointed trustees, including prohibiting them from telling their clients, such as Scott, what assets are bought or sold.

Scott then got a second ethics opinion that said his blind trust complied with the law. Last year, the trust held $72.9 million in assets of a total net worth for Scott of $83.8 million.


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