Scott’s net worth drops
By Jim Turner
The News Service of Florida
Gov. Rick Scott’s net worth dropped nearly 19 percent — mainly due to a reduction in the value of his investments in a blind trust — during the first year of his second term, according to reports filed this week.
Meanwhile, the three constitutional officers that make up the Florida Cabinet — Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater — reported little change in their net worth at the end of the first year in their second terms, the reports showed.
Scott’s net worth plunged from $146.8 million at the end of 2014 to $119.55 million as of Dec. 15, 2015, according to annual financial disclosure reports filed Thursday with the state Commission on Ethics. The governor also listed no liabilities topping $1,000.
The four-page document provides a glimpse at Scott’s financial holdings. The appraised value of the governor’s Naples home inched up, from $15.39 million in 2014 to $15.44 million in 2015. A separate property in the Naples Boat Club development climbed in value from $112,375 to $123,375 during the same time period, according to the reports.
Meanwhile, the value of a 60-acre ranch Scott owns in Montana held steady at about $1.5 million, the report showed.
The governor also reported that the value of the “Governor Richard L. Scott 2014 Qualified Blind Trust” fell from $127.8 million to $100.4 million by the end of 2015.
Scott, who voluntarily receives an annual salary of 12 cents for his state executive pay, reported an income of $16.6 million from the blind trust last year.
In 2014, when the Florida Supreme Court declined to consider a challenge to a 2013 law that allows elected officials to use blind trusts to shield their financial assets, Scott’s blind trusts generated $9.8 million in investment income. In the run-up to his re-election in 2014, Scott disclosed the contents of his original blind trust, which he has since shut down. But in the most recent report, as in last year’s, Scott did not disclose the assets in the blind trust.
Scott did report that the value of a retirement account held by Pershing Advisor Solutions in New Jersey declined, from $610,023 in 2014 to $553,921 last year. His Well Fargo bank account in Tallahassee went from $92,213 to $32,554 over the one-year period ending in December.
Scott, a former health care executive who reportedly spent more than $70 million of his own money to finance his first gubernatorial campaign and another $13 million on his re-election bid, has seen his net worth fluctuate over the years.
When he first ran for office, Scott reported a net worth of $218 million. In his 2012 financial disclosure, Scott put his net worth at $83.7 million. A year later it grew to $132.7 million.
Elected officials are required to file the annual financial disclosures by July 1 each year.
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a potential 2018 gubernatorial candidate whose wealth is tied to the family-owned Putnam Groves, has remained the fiscal pace setter for the Cabinet members.
As of Dec. 15, Putnam’s net worth stood at $8.34 million, up from $8.28 million the previous year. The former Congressman, a Republican, reported his net worth at $6.8 million when first elected to the statewide post in 2010.
Putnam reported that the 2015 book value of his 20-percent share of Putnam Groves is $3.2 million, up from $3.15 million the prior year.
Putnam, who received $123,576 in salary as agriculture commissioner last year, also owns a home in Bartow valued at $174,000 and a Tallahassee residence appraised at $260,000, both unchanged from 2014, according to the reports.
Putnam’s investments brought him just over $50,000 and a 25-percent stake in a beach house earned $2,250 in income last year, the reports show. Putnam listed a $109,160 mortgage as his only liability.
Atwater, who posted his net worth at $1.55 million when first running for statewide office in 2009, listed his net worth at $2.53 million as of Dec. 31, 2015. Atwater’s most recent net worth is down slightly from the $2.6 million the North Palm Beach banker reported for 2014.
Like Scott, Atwater listed no liabilities. The biggest change in his financial status was the removal of the North Palm Beach home that was his primary residence before he bought waterfront property in the same neighborhood in 2014.
In 2014, Atwater reported the value of the former family home as $345,065. The new property jumped in value from $750,000 when purchased in 2014 to $866,000 in 2015, the latest reports show.
Atwater, who was paid $128,161 last year in his state job, also received investments and deferred payments worth $37,562 from Bank of America, which acquired his former employer, Barnett Bank.
Bondi earned $128,872 as the state’s attorney general last year and saw her net worth grow from just under $1.4 million at the end of 2014 to nearly $1.44 million on Dec. 15, 2015, according to the reports.
Bondi, who entered office in 2011 with a reported net worth of $472,699, listed her personal residence in Hillsborough County, valued at $825,000, as her biggest asset. Bondi identified her only other assets in 2015 as a one-third share in a condominium valued at $342,000 and a checking account that on Dec. 15 contained $5,016.13.
Bondi also reported that she owes $269,527 for a pair of Suncoast School Federal Credit Union loans.