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3 posts from August 17, 2014

August 17, 2014

The trial lawyer who has haunted Rick Scott for four years

Rick Scott stepped to the podium to start a Tallahassee press conference when a man approached him with a handshake.

“Mr. Scott,” the man said. “I have a subpoena here for you.”

Scott’s brief smile fell from his face as he grabbed the subpoena.

Scott didn’t know it at the time, but he had indirectly just come in contact with a man who would become a persistent thorn in his side for the next four years: Steven R. Andrews, a Republican Tallahassee trial lawyer with mad-scientist hair and a flair for headline-grabbing.

Andrews had sent the process server at the time — Aug. 10, 2010, to be exact — to deliver a lawsuit that sought to force Scott to disclose a sealed deposition he gave in a healthcare lawsuit six days before announcing his bid for governor. Andrews lost that suit, which sought to declare Scott a “public hazard.”

Now, almost four years later to the day, Andrews is still vexing Scott over public disclosure.

On Wednesday, Andrews won a battle in a public-records lawsuit against Scott’s administration when a Tallahassee judge ruled that Google and Yahoo must disclose information about private email accounts held by Scott as well as his current and former employees.

Asked later by reporters if he or his staffers used the accounts to discuss public business privately, Scott issued a blanket denial.

“Absolutely not. We follow the law,” Scott said. “This is just an individual that sues the state, tries to cause problems”

Brace yourself for more “problems,” governor.

Column here

"Shady" Rick Scott and "For Sale" Charlie Crist punch, counterpunch in new round of mean ads

@MarcACaputo

It's getting meaner. And it won't get any better.

In a punch-counterpunch round of ads, Gov. Rick Scott's team is going after former Gov. Charlie Crist's ties to a convicted Ponzi schemer and Crist's camp is responding with a broadside against the incumbent for everything from his "lies" about education funding to his pleading the Fifth Amendment 75 times in a deposition.

Scott''s ad, paid through the Republican Party of Florida, fired first.

"Convicted swindler Scott Rothstein bought expensive things with stolen money. He even bought a governor," the ad intones, pointing out how the Ponzi schemer recently claimed Crist essentially sold judicial appointments, which Crist denies.

"Charlie Crist. For governor. For sale," the ad closes.

Now, Crist's campaign plans to run its counter to the "smears;" but it does its own smearing in the process.

"Now," the Crist ad says of Scott, "he's teamed up with a felon convicted of running a Ponzi scheme to smear Charlie Crist with false attacks."

To be clear: there's no evidence that Scott has "teamed up" with Rothstein. And, beyond the word of the convicted Ponzi schemer, there's no solid evidence that Rothstein "bought" Crist.

"Rick Scott," Crist's ad closes, "Too shady for the Sunshine State."

Here's the Crist ad (Scott ad will post as soon as it's on YouTube).

FL-26 Republicans tussle in TV faceoff

@PatriciaMazzei

Five Republicans jostling for their party’s nomination to run against Congressman Joe Garcia, a Miami Democrat, faced off Sunday perhaps for the last time before the Aug. 26 primary election.

The two candidates who have tussled the most -– Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo and Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall –- pointedly went after each other in their appearance on WPLG-ABC 10’s This Week in South Florida.

MacDougall's strategy has been to try to topple Curbelo, the presumed frontrunner in the race, in an apparent effort to split the Hispanic vote enough among the four Hispanic candidates to leave MacDougall as the winner. He accused Curbelo of being untrustworthy because he won’t disclose his media and public relations firm’s clients.

“He regulates hundreds of millions of dollars for the school board,” MacDougall said. “Why is this not coming out?”

Curbelo called the jab “frivolous,” saying he discloses what he’s required to by law. He put his firm, Capitol Gains, in his wife Cecilia’s name in 2009, citing advice from U.S. Senate attorneys. At the time, Curbelo was an aide to former Florida Republican Senator George LeMieux.

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