« November 10, 2013 | Main | November 12, 2013 »

4 posts from November 11, 2013

November 11, 2013

Movers & Shakers

State's first Insurance Consumer Advocate back on the job

Steve Burgess, who was the state's first Insurance Consumer Advocate in 1990, has returned to the position for a third time.

Burgess, 65, of Tallahassee, became the first insurance consumer advocate when he was appointed by then-Insurance Commissioner Tom Gallagher. Burgess held the position until 1997 when he was involved in a showdown with then-Insurance Commissioner Bill Nelson. Burgess returned to the position from 2004 to 2007 when Gallagher, then CEO, put him back in the job.

Burgess most recently served as the staff director of the Florida Senate’s Committee on Banking and Insurance. He also served as an associate and deputy public counsel and received his bachelor’s degree in accounting and his law degree from Florida State University.

Burgess replaces Robin Westcott, who left in September to return to the private sector.

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater had this comment about Burgess in a press release: “Steve’s career experience and his understanding of the insurance industry will help further our efforts to hold insurance companies accountable and ensure that Floridians are being treated fairly. He is a proven advocate for Florida consumers and I am confident he will represent the best interests of Florida families.”

New leader named for health plan association

Audrey Brown has become the new president and CEO of Florida Association of Health Plans.

She was most recently chief of staff to Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty. She served as McCarty's chief policy advisor, chief lobbyist on agency fiscal matters and managed the operations of the Office of Insurance Regulation.

Brown also worked as deputy chief of staff to McCarty from June 2007 to November 2007 and she workedin the executive office for Gov. Jeb Bush.

Continue reading "Movers & Shakers" »

Email attacks Miami Beach commission candidate for having child out of wedlock


A mysterious email was sent to Miami Beach residents this weekend, telling them not to vote for commission candidate Michael Grieco because, among other things, he has a child out of wedlock.

"Michael Grieco brags about being a father all the time and promotes himself with flyers casting the image of him as a man of strong family values," the email said. "But did you know he had his child out of wedlock and his 'wife' is not really his wife, but merely a girlfriend he lives with?"

Grieco's opponent, incumbent Jorge Exposito, sent out an email denying any connection to the attack. The two are locked in a runoff for Commission Group II. Voting takes place Nov. 19. 

"While Mr. Grieco and I may place ourselves in the spotlight for public scruitny, there is no place for attacks on either of our families," Exposito wrote in a statement. 

Grieco said the email, from MGriecoLiar@gmail.com, was sent out in batches over the weekend.

Said Grieco: "It’s 2013. This is Miami Beach. My home structure is, first of all, nobody's business. Second of all, it's no different than a large contingent of the population. I love my family and I'm proud of my family. And to bring my son and to bring my better half into this is cowardly and it's foolish, and highly offensive." 


Scott to honor Sam Gibbons, other Vets' Hall of Fame inductees

Gov. Rick Scott scheduled a reception for veterans at the Governor's Mansion on Veterans' Day and on Tuesday at the state Capitol he'll induct the charter members of the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame. That honor was created by the 2013 Legislature, and the first six inductees include two prominent political names -- one a Republican, one a Democrat.

The late U.S. Rep. Sam Gibbons, a Tampa Democrat, will join the Veterans Hall of Fame in recognition of his service with the 101st Airborne Division at the D-Day invasion at Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. He later served 34 years in Congress and was one of the inspirations of Tom Brokaw's book, The Greatest Generation.

Former two-term Comptroller Bob Milligan, a Republican from Panama City, rose to the rank of Lieutenant General in the Marine Corps and retired in 1991. Milligan, a political neophyte, defeated long-time Comptroller Gerald Lewis in 1994. Voters later merged the Cabinet office with the office of treasurer and insurance commissioner to create today's post of chief financial officer.

The other inductees are retired Army Maj. Gen. John Cleland, retired Marine Corps Maj. John Haynes, long-time Navy reservist Capt. Jeanne Rubin and retired Navy Capt. Robert Silah.

The six honorees were chosen by a seven-member Veterans Hall of Fame Council. Inexplicably, not on the list of inductees is the late George "Bud" Day, a Medal of Honor winner who served five years as a prisoner of war during Vietnam and who Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. has called "my inspiration." Day was a long-time resident of Shalimar in Okaloosa County who actively supported Republican causes and candidates; he died in July at the age of 88.

-- Steve Bousquet


Charlie Crist faces Truth-O-Meter three times since 2014 campaign launch

by @amysherman1 and @katielsanders

PolitiFact Florida has fact-checked Charlie Crist three times since he announced his campaign seeking to get his old job as governor back:

* In his announcement speech, Crist said: "I am proud of my record as the governor investing in public education, and stopping the layoffs of some 20,000 school teachers during the global economic meltdown." We rated that claim Half True.

* "(Rick Scott is) a governor who cares so little about education that he didn’t even come to his own education summit," Crist said during his announcement speech. "But he did take time to go to the tea party convention the same week." We rated that claim True.

* On MSNBC, Crist said: "First thing he [Rick Scott] does when he comes in, Chuck, is cut education by $1.3 billion," Crist said. "That’s an incredible decrease. Then in his second year he decreases funding by $300 million to our state universities." We rated that claim Mostly True

To review Crist's full on PolitiFact Florida click here.

See a claim by or about Charlie Crist, Gov. Rick Scott or another politician that is worthy of a fact-check? Tweet us at #politifactthis or email us at truthometer@politifact.com