Scott to unload Solantic amid ethics questionsby John Kennedy | April 13th, 2011
Republican Rick Scott has agreed to sell his family’s ownership of Solantic, the chain of urgent care health clinics miring him in conflict of interest questions, a spokeswoman for the governor said Wednesday.
Amy Graham said Scott expects to complete the sale by April 29 to Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, a New York City-based private equity investment firm that is a minority shareholder in the company. Graham said Scott is selling his family’s 70 percent share for less than $60 million.
During his campaign for governor, Scott valued his share of the company at $62 million.
But in the deal, Scott apparently has had to walk away from his earlier pledge to bar Solantic from soliciting state contracts.
Brian Burgess, Scott’s communications director, said Wednesday that while the governor sought the prohibition, he has learned state law disallows such standards.
“Legal counsel has told us you can’t prevent people from bidding on contracts, Florida law takes precedent over any business agreement,” Burgess said.
But Burgess added, “The governor recognizes that he has to remain beyond reproach on this stuff.”
Scott’s interest in Solantic has clouded the governor during his first three months as chief executive, with concerns spiking after he called for drug-testing of state employees, a service the company provides. Legislative proposals to overhaul Medicaid, which Scott also supports, could have caused the governor’s public role to collide with his private interests.
Scott said he has tried to be “transparent” on matters involving Solantic. Before he took office, Scott representatives met with Florida Commission on Ethics in December, a meeting at which no public records were created.
Shortly after that meeting, the governor-elect’s Solantic shares were quietly moved into the Frances Annette Scott Revocable Trust, his wife’s account.