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Scott returns to circle of loyalists with appointment of Tom Grady to constitution commission

Tom Grady and Rick ScottGov. Rick Scott returned to his circle of loyalists again on Thursday, appointing former state Rep. Tom Grady to fill the post on the Florida Constitution Revision Commission vacated when he named another of his early supporters, Jimmy Patronis, as state Chief Financial Officer.

Grady, a Naples Republican, serves on the State Board of Education, where he was appointed by Scott. The governor has also previously appointed him commissioner of the Office of Financial Regulation, president of Citizens Property Insurance Corporation and trustee of Florida Gulf Coast University. 

During his time in state government, Grady had a history questionable personal spending. In less than two months overseeing the state-run provider, he spent nearly $10,000 on expensive hotel rooms, airplane trips, a limo ride and a three-night stay in Bermuda. Grady defended the spending, saying he was actually “very frugal.” He lost the permanent job to a Maryland insurance executive, amid questions raised by the Tampa Bay Times about his spending habits. 

The Times also reported in 2012 that during his tenure running the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, Grady echoed Scott’s cost-cutting mantra, but also racked up hefty travel expenses — including $6,000 on in-state travel and $10,000 on office furniture.

Grady is CEO of both Continental Equities Group and GradyLaw. Grady received his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and law degree from Duke University.

"Tom has been an advocate for Floridians throughout his entire career and I know he will continue to relentlessly work to make our state the best place for families and job creators to succeed for generations to come," Scott said in an statement.

The 37-member commission has the power to place constitutional amendments directly on the 2018 ballot. The commission, which meets every 20 years, includes appointees of the House speaker, Senate president and chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court. But the membership gives the advantage to the governor, who appoints its chair. Scott appointed Carlos Beruff, who has asserted strict control over the panel, shaping rules that have helped to concentrate his influence over ballot measures.

The commission is in the process of holding public meetings across the state.

Photo: Tom Grady and Gov. Rick Scott by Bill Cotterell, Tallahassee Democrat

Staff writer Kristen Clark contributed to this report.