Florida Gov. Rick Scott much wealthier than previously reported, data show

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott released a financial disclosure report Friday that revealed for the first time he is reportedly worth at least $255 million.  

Scott, who is running against Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, turned in a 125-page, federally required financial disclosure to the U.S. Senate.

The report shows that his family is much richer than the Republican governor has been reporting to state authorities.

While the Senate report does not require exact amounts, it lists that at least $170 million in assets are held by Florida first lady Ann Scott. The disclosure was the first time that Scott has disclosed his wife’s investments, the Miami Herald reported.

The 65-year-old multi-millionaire businessman is the richest person to ever serve as the state’s governor, according to the Herald.

The financial report also shows that the Scott family has holdings in a vast array of companies as well as a substantial portfolio of bonds from local governments and other public institutions.

The holdings could raise questions about conflicts since both Scott and his wife have invested in companies that do business in Florida, including a subsidiary of the company that owns Florida’s largest electric utility.

Scott has routinely insisted he has no control over his investments since his own personal holdings are in a blind trust that is not managed by him. His campaign repeated that assertion after the report was released.

“The blind trust is managed by an independent financial professional who decides what assets are bought, sold or changed,” Scott’s campaign said in a statement. “The rules of the blind trust prevent any specific assets or the value of those assets within the trust from being disclosed to the governor, and those requirements have always been followed.”

But the report is sure to give fresh ammunition to critics of Scott, who maintain he has been hiding details of his fortune.

“It is clear financial shenanigans have allowed Rick Scott to obscure his true finances for eight years,” said Don Hinkle, a Tallahassee attorney who has sued Scott. Hinkle, a one-time fundraiser for former President Barack Obama, contends Scott is violating state financial disclosure requirements.

The Democratic Party and Nelson’s campaign did not immediately respond for comment.

During his first run in 2010, Scott released his tax returns and a lengthy list of business holdings.

Scott has used his wealth to help bankroll his campaigns during his three runs for office. 

Shortly after he first took office, he received permission from the ethics commission to set up a blind trust to remove direct control over his finances in an effort to avoid possible conflicts. But the trust is managed by a company that includes a longtime business associate of Scott.

“Gov. Scott’s blind trust setup doesn’t pass the smell test,” Zach Learner, campaign manager for gubernatorial candidate Chris King, told the Tampa Bay Times. “Floridians deserve a governor who complies with the spirit of what a blind trust is meant to do.

Scott, who does not accept a salary and uses a family jet to travel, first built his fortune as the head of the hospital giant Columbia/HCA.

He was forced out of the job amid a federal investigation into fraud. Although Scott was never charged with any wrongdoing, the company paid a then-record $1.7 billion fine for Medicare fraud.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Amy Lieu is a news editor and reporter for Fox News.



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