TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Rick Scott saw his finances rebound last year, as his net worth grew by more than 58 percent from nearly $84 million to nearly $133 million, according to new financial information he filed Monday.
Scott, who officially qualified for re-election, was required to disclose his finances in order to make the 2014 ballot. But Scott also released three years of joint tax returns and provided detailed information about individual holdings he placed in a blind trust three years ago.
Those returns and the latest information he turned over to the state give a much broader picture of Scott's finances than previously because the tax returns also include financial information about his wife, Ann Scott.
The tax returns, for example, show that the Scott family is earning millions more than the governor reported he earned individually. The Republican does not collect a salary as governor. His financial disclosure shows for the first time a nearly $1.5 million vacation home the family purchased after Scott became governor.
The latest tax return shows that the Scotts earned $8.73 million in 2012 and paid $1.35 million in taxes or about 15.5 percent. The year before the Scotts reported making $80.3 million, but a large portion of that came from Scott's decision to sell his holdings in a chain of urgent care clinics. Scott sold his interest in Solantic after complaints that it was a possible conflict of interest.
Scott in a statement called on his chief rival - former Gov. Charlie Crist - to turn over tax returns that he and his wife, Carole Crist, have filed.
"In order to provide even more transparency to the public, my wife, Ann, and I also voluntarily released the last three years of our tax returns," Scott said in a statement released by his re-election campaign. "I hope that Charlie Crist will follow our lead and take the same steps today by releasing his and his spouse's tax returns. His immediate public production of these tax returns for 2011 and 2012 is important to provide the people of Florida the transparency they deserve."
Crist, who also qualified for the election on Monday, released financial information showing that he has a net worth of $1.2 million and that he earned nearly $713,000 last year. He earned nearly $300,000 from the Morgan & Morgan law firm but he also reported earning nearly $183,000 from Panhandle real estate and development firm The St. Joe Co.
That means Crist is doing much better financially than he was in elected office with his net worth more than doubling. His salary was slightly more than $130,000 when he was governor.
Crist spokesman Kevin Cate said the Democratic candidate "will soon disclose way more financial records" than the governor.
Scott revealed some of his finances out of an "abundance of caution." When he first ran for governor in 2010 he released tax returns but he set up a blind trust in 2011 to remove direct in order to avoid potential conflicts.
But a pending lawsuit maintains that the new state law that allows blind trusts violates the state's "Sunshine Amendment" that forced elected officials to disclose their finances. Scott ran the risk that if he qualified for the ballot without disclosing all of his assets he could be removed from the ballot later.
Scott said in a statement that he was placing all his assets back into a blind trust in order to avoid any conflicts.