What did Florida do to deserve this?

Florida has elected a man with a reputation not many would want.  This person spent a big chunk, more than $73 million, of his personal fortune to get elected. He wanted to be governor, really, really, wanted to be the governor. Why?

Here is some background on the 45th Governor in Florida. He is an aggressive Self-made millionaire who goes after what he wants. He has a business degree and a law degree. He graduated, then practiced law with Johnson & Swanson in Texas. While he was at the law firm he use his contacts to back a bold bid to buy the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). The bid was rejected by HCA.  This did not stop Scott in his pursuit of a hospital corporation.

In 1988 he and a very rich financier each put up $125,000 to form the Columbia Hospital Corporation. They borrowed millions to buy two hospitals in El Paso, Texas. They bought a 3rd hospital in the area and shut it down. This net effect was to reduce the available beds and drive more patients to the Columbia hospitals. Instead if three struggling hospitals, their are now two successful hospitals.  The question that is not answered, how did Scott treat the employees who were affected by the hospital closing? His attitude and actions in the state affecting people makes me wonder if he screwed the employees and walked away.

Columbia Hospital expanded aggressively by buying other hospitals on other states. After each expansion, Scott still ran the company. As head of a large hospital corporation he was making millions in compensation and stock options. He then set his sights on HCA, the original acquisition target. He got it in 1994 and made his company the largest healthcare provider and ranked as one of the 50 top companies in the USA. Quite an accomplishment, but was it? It seem that the company was built on defrauding Medicare and Medicaid. When didn’t start?  Only the managers would know and they are not talking.

He was forced to resign “Following the raids, the Columbia/HCA board of directors forced Scott to resign as Chairman and CEO.   He was paid $9.88 million in a settlement. He also left owning 10 million shares of stock worth over $350 million” (quote; copied from Wikipedia).

“In settlements reached in 2000 and 2002, Columbia/HCA plead guilty to 14 felonies and agreed to a $600+ million fine in the largest fraud settlement in US history. Columbia/HCA admitted systematically overcharging the government by claiming marketing costs as reimbursable, by striking illegal deals with home care agencies, and by filing false data about use of hospital space. They also admitted fraudulently billing Medicare and other health programs by inflating the seriousness of diagnoses and to giving doctors partnerships in company hospitals as a kickback for the doctors referring patients to HCA. They filed false cost reports, fraudulently billing Medicare for home health care workers, and paid kickbacks in the sale of home health agencies and to doctors to refer patients. In addition, they gave doctors “loans” never intending to be repaid, free rent, free office furniture, and free drugs from hospital pharmacies.” (Wikipedia)

“In late 2002, HCA agreed to pay the U.S. government $631 million, plus interest, and pay $17.5 million to state Medicaid agencies, in addition to $250 million paid up to that point to resolve outstanding Medicare expense claims.  In all, civil law suits cost HCA more than $2 billion to settle, by far the largest fraud settlement in US history.” (Wikipedia)

Solantic, a chain of clinics in Florida that he cofounded, “has been the target of numerous employment discrimination suits, including one that settled with 7 plaintiffs for an undisclosed sum on May 23, 2007. These suits allegedly stem from a Scott-directed policy to not hire elderly or overweight applicants, preferring ‘mainstream’ candidates.” (Wikipedia)

From the Herald on Saturday, July 9, 2011.   Enu Mainigi, his lawyer, defended him in the contract dispute against Columbia/HCA in 2000, in which he pleaded the fifth 75 times, and in the 2010 whistleblower lawsuit against Solantic, the chain of urgent care clinics Scott founded and recently sold.  She is one of his advisors in Tallahassee.

From The Miami Herald on his veto of the state’s funding for FarmShare.

Patricia Robbins, as cofounder of FarmShare, a nonprofit organization that sorts, packs and distributes food throughout Florida, Robbins was smacked hard by Gov. Rick Scott’s recent veto of $750,000. That money is crucial to help pay for refrigeration of food and transporting it from here to North Florida. Pantries at churches and synagogues, soup kitchens, senior centers and homeless shelters throughout the state depend on this program.

Now farmers will have to get creative to qualify for federal payments for donated food because FarmShare’s program has been crippled. Will the farmers pay for the refrigeration and transport of this produce? How many South Florida farmers are making big bucks in this economy to do that?

Or will they be forced to dump the food they can’t sell because the vegetables are a bit small or too big for the market — just dump it in the landfill?

What was Scott thinking? Talk about clueless.

To continue; Scott killed the high speed rail project but approved the controversial Sun Rail project in Orlando.  This wins him points with the Orlando business groups, now they owe him and this man needs favors to call in if he wants to run for a second term.  His approval rating is the worst of any governor in the 50 states.

Where are this man’s morals.  He does not care about people.  His actions show a complete disregard for people and their welfare.  He is a millionaire with nothing to worry about.  He is screwing state workers and teachers, while paying his staff about 4X what an average state worker makes.  He has made 1,300 state employee redundant, many of them making less than $30,000 per year.  Big savings, these employees cost less than his campaign.  His policies are designed benefit the wealthy and penalize anyone who works for living.

He pledged to bring jobs to the state.  What type of jobs he did not say, but given his record will he count flipping burgers at McDonnell’s as production line jobs to show his policies work.  Given his history, can you trust an announcement from Tallahassee.

He was elected by a minority of Florida voters.  A failure to vote was a vote for Scott and many failed to vote.  To answer the question of why he wanted to be governor?  That is for the reader to answer. The state will survive his tenure, but in what shape?

News articles.




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This is my very occasional commentary on any topic.