Rick Scott, the first governor in Florida history (and likely the last) to travel on his own personal plane, has a new set of wings.
Scott has a 2008 Cessna Citation Excel jet and is selling his other plane, a 2004 Hawker, which is listed for sale at $1.495 million. The purchase price of the new plane was not immediately available. The new plane, like the old one, is owned by Columbia Collier Properties, a Naples business whose registered signing manager on legal documents is First Lady Ann Scott.
The tail number on Scott's old plane ended with his initials, "RS." The tail number on the new plane ends with "AS," which must stand for the first lady of Florida. Among the features on the new aircraft is stand-up headroom with a dropped aisle that runs the length of the cabin, according to the industry website www.airliners.net.
When Scott took office nearly two-and-a-half years ago, he kept his campaign promise to get rid of two state aircraft, one owned and one leased. Since the day he took office, he has flown on his personal airplane at his own expense. The governor's office says no public records exist reflecting how much money Scott has saved taxpayers by paying for his own flight costs; also not known is how much of a tax deduction Scott derives by using his plane for business purposes.
“The governor wants to travel the state as often as possible to listen to the concerns and ideas of Floridians,” said Scott’s chief spokeswoman, Melissa Sellers.
Scott travels more often than his predecessor and possible future rival, Charlie Crist, who traveled at taxpayers’ expense. In fact, the Republican Party of Florida, as part of a series critically examining Crist’s record, noted that Monday was the fourth anniversary of a Times/Herald story that cited his use of state aircraft to attract publicity at ceremonial bill-signing events while campaigning for the U.S. Senate.
“By skillfully using the trappings of power, Crist can spread a popular message at public expense ... as he did Tuesday in the state’s two biggest media markets,” the story said, at a cost of $4,800.
-- Steve Bousquet