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Gov. Rick Scott won't return Heritage contribution following Citizens property-insurance deal


When Gov. Rick Scott attended Miami-Dade County's annual hurricane preparedness news conference Thursday, he wouldn't say whether he planned to return a recent campaign contribution he received from an upstart company poised to reap a $52 million windfall from Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

Heritage Property and Casualty Insurance Company of St. Petersburg contributed $110,000 to Scott's reelection campaign in March. Last week, the board of Citizens, the state's largest property insurer, voted to ink a special deal in which Citizens will pay Heritage some $52 million to take over about 60,000 Citizens policies. 

"What I've said is anything the Citizens board does, they need to take the time to review every project they do, make sure it's good for all Citizens policyholders and do the right thing," Scott said Thursday.

Pressed for an answer on whether he would return the contribution, the Republican governor did not answer. He left the conference after taking a total of three questions.

Later, Scott spokeswoman Melissa Sellers followed up with an email to a Miami Herald reporter answering the question.

"No," Sellers wrote. "And as we said last week, any assertion that our office influenced the Heritage risk transfer decision by the Citizens Board is outrageous."