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The Adam Hollingsworth Effect: double talk, double standards and academic fraud


Adam Hollingsworth sometimes gave an aw-shucks self-deprecating line when he gave advice: “I’m just a guy with a p.r. degree from Alabama.”

It was a lie.

And it caught up with Hollingsworth, now Gov. Rick Scott’s chief of staff, when The Miami Herald-Tampa Bay Times Tallahassee bureau exposed the academic fraud on Friday.

Hollingsworth didn’t just verbally deceive people. He twice explicitly allowed his former employer, CSX Corporation, to issue press releases in 1998 and 2002 saying he graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree.

Hollingsworth had no degree at the time. He earned one years later.

“I am not proud of this and I deeply apologize for this misrepresentation,” Hollingsworth said in a written statement. “I have learned from this failure in judgment and know that, over the last several years, my life and character have and will continue to grow from this.”

Is Hollingsworth now telling the full truth?

Hollingsworth denied his deception contributed to his departure from the railroad giant. But a tipster who worked at CSX with Hollingsworth said his lies played a part.

Something noteworthy clearly happened after Hollingsworth unexpectedly left CSX to work for Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton in 2004: he stopped lying about his academic record.

Why the sudden decision to become honest about it? If he hadn’t been caught lying at CSX, how would the corporate tipster know about the deception, which Hollingsworth kept secret for years?

Hollingsworth won’t explain. CSX wouldn’t comment.

Hollingsworth has shown he’ll keep a lie secret until caught. He didn’t tell the governor about his “misrepresentation” until the media busted him.

Cover-ups often compound the crime of a lie, but Scott is sticking by him, saying in a statement that he has “confidence in Adam as my chief of staff, and my friend…I know him to be a man of tremendous integrity and character.”

Considering Hollingsworth is his third (and most-effective) staff chief, Scott is running out of replacement options as he faces reelection.

In this election atmosphere, Hollingsworth is no longer just someone shaping politics and policy behind the scenes. He’s now a political issue in a campaign season where Scott and his Democratic challengers are calling each other untrustworthy.

More here


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Scott said,"I know him to be a man of tremendous integrity and character:. Really, his lies to obtain a job mean nothing? Really? Governor Scott, you may feel a liar and cheat has Tremendous integrity and character; thousands of on the fence voters will not!!! What will you say when ask at a debate about this man and your statement? One and done; is what the "good" people of honor and character, will say to you!!! You have got to be kidding me!!!


Rick Scott would have a hard time recognizing "a man of tremendous integrity and character." After all, he suffers from the worst character flaw of all - self-delusion. He looks in the mirror and thinks he sees a man of tremendous integrity and character.

ed jenkins

As the readers have said before they do not need articles rewritten numerous times on subjects irrelevant to them (previously it was 8-10 articles on some congressman from a distant place). This fellow who the readers can neither vote for nor does he have an effect on them has been the subject of 3 articles in recent days and those who read this hometown paper believe they need a better product for the price than articles on the same subject written in different ways. The subject of this article was not hired in his current position because some information appeared in a press release 15 years ago and if articles like this continue to be written we request that this author be removed from the paper because he does not have any relevant information to add to the citizens.

Jax Native

Where did he finally get a degree from?

Tally Folly

A liar as a PR spokesman for a Liar. Sounds about right.


Mr. Jenkins,
Please apply the same logic you apply here to "our" President. Your "far" away Congressman rings so hollow; it's laughable. He's your neighbor!!! Like Bugs Bunny would say; "What a Maroon"!!! LOL

kevin Wright

Not one of these people made a peep about Barack Obama refusing to release transcripts, as the evidence mounts that he attended college on a foreign student scholarship. I say give this fine public servant an honorary PHD for helping to increase employment, by giving teachers a raise. If you do not agree, you are against education, you are a birther and a racist.

Preston Scott

Agree with those of you that consider Mr. Hollingsworth's deception to be a big deal. It is...but I would submit the outright lies of the President of The United States over a period of at least five years (actually longer if you include his campaign and his books) is a MUCH bigger deal. In reality, Hollingsworth is a gloried office manager. Wrong, yes...but perspective, folks.

Robert Jenkins

Really Preston? As long as this or any person has an (R) next to their name, you can and seemingly will justify bad behavior; by ssaying some one else did worse? I'd punish my Grand Babies for using such logic. Some one else does it too; so it's okay? Please!!!!

Can't take anymore

Preston is trying to branch out into blogs to move up from his tinny, rightwing AM radio blabfest in Tallahassee. Another unhappy, washed up jock now living in the Tea Bagger fantasy world.

kevin Wright

When a Democrat makes a huge ethical mistake, his liberal cronies are quick to forgive, and he even gets a fan base. Former Governor Elliot Spitzer got a CNN show. After Charlie Crist loses his next political race, look for his attempt at a talk show.

What was Crist's ethical mistake? Ask Alex Sink, she knows plenty about that party in the Bahamas.


Shocking that he got this past CSX when they are so careful about vetting you before they even give you a phone interview. I guess it depends on who you are or who you know!


Gee, Preston, only a child would respond to a charge of lying by saying everyone else does it (and in the case of POTUS, lying about lies).

Or a political operative who will do anything to defend his patron, and destroy his opponent by any means.


As a Republican I refuse to vote for Scott, I will vote for Charlie Crist, that was outsted by the Tea Party in favor for that other idiot Rubio. No more crooks in the State of Florida.

Robin Slitswell

Who in their right minds would want Charlie Crist to be governor again? Adam Hollingsworth is probably a good chief of staff for the Gov but he needs to go. We can't afford to let a turncoat like Crist anywhere close to a public office ever again. Times are hard and the last thing we need to accept is any individual in government who is known to be deceitful. Like it or not, Hollingsworth lied. Crist is beyond deceitful. Good-bye to anyone in government that has been determined to be less than honest and that goes for everyone from President to Dog Catcher. Time for Rick Scott to empty the trash.

Larry Hill

Face it, the tea party republiKKKans are the party of corruption and criminality. Thirty five years ago, the Republicans in Long Island, New York were considered the center of Republicanism in the nation. After countless political scandals, arrests and convictions, the Dems took over both houses and have not looked back. Unfortunately, business people feel that they are above the law in their quest to be unfettered by any law, rule, regulation, but they will still break them all. This is why they have the mercenaries in the tea party throwing themselves on political grenades for their billionaire and corporate sponsors. Promised a good life for themselves and their families, the tea partiers will do absolutely anything to obstruct, steal pensions ancd every corrupt and criminal thing to gain their ends.

Shaunel Thomas

Rick Scott didn't get the memo. Why not? Hollingsworth, the master of shuffling documents like a shell game kept the information from the governor. Hollingsworth is a proven liar but he does a very expert job at running the governor. Anybody who's seen Rick Scott's motorcade going down the Turnpike knows that somebody planned every step to a "T" and this is of course the devious Hollingsworth. The real news is leaking out about Hollingsworth's debauchery and it is only a matter of time before the very insulated and controlled governor Scott picks up a newspaper and reads it of his own accord and sees how his own Chief of Staff has been manipulating him. Being a governor is a different sort of art from running a huge healthcare company and Scott has had numerous bumps in the road during his tenure including the hiring and firing of various Chiefs of Staff. Hollingsworth will not be the first one to go but go he must. He is dragging Rick Scott down on a daily basis as Hollingsworth's deceptions are coming to light. All in all, Scott can run on his own record which is decent and win. With dead-weight guys like Hollingsworth (that make up their own college credentials) on board, Scott is a dead duck. The last thing Florida needs is a return to power of chain-gang Charlie Crist who's only claim to fame as governor was to heap oppressive penalties on African-Americans and other minorities in an effort to curry-favor the white vote in Florida.

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