Gov. Rick Scott’s office is trying to fight back against a lawsuit contending the governor has not properly complied with financial-disclosure requirements, calling it “nothing more than a publicity stunt.”
The 1st District Court of Appeal on Tuesday scheduled arguments for July 17 in the dispute between Scott — who last year reported a net worth of $149.3 million, including $130.5 million in a blind trust — and Tallahassee attorney Donald Hinkle.
“An identical complaint has already been rejected by a court of law, and the Florida Ethics Commission has also repeatedly rejected Mr. Hinkle’s arguments,” Scott spokesman John Tupps said. “He should quit wasting everyone’s time.”
Hinkle filed the lawsuit last year, alleging that Scott has not complied with the state’s “Sunshine Amendment,” which requires elected officials to disclose details of their personal finances.
“Governor Scott has failed to fully disclose his financial interests by not disclosing the underlying assets in revocable trusts and various partnerships,” the lawsuit said. “Governor Scott also attempts to include in a ‘blind’ trust assets that do not qualify and to which he is not ‘blind.’ ”
Scott’s attorneys sought to dismiss the case, arguing that such financial-disclosure issues should be heard by the Florida Commission on Ethics. A Leon County circuit judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit, prompting the appeal to the Tallahassee-based appellate court.