You really can’t make this stuff up. Rick Scott, the guy who slinked out of his former hospital corporation, Columbia/HCA, with a $300 million golden parachute before the company settled with the federal government to the tune of $1.7 billion over Medicare fraud… whose new company, Solantic, also is being looked at for Medicare fraud, who spent $73 million of his ill-gotten gains to make himself governor of Florida, in part by running against a Republican establishment that among other things, handed out American Express cards paid for by donors, which Florida politicians like Marco Rubio abused like they were on an episode of “Pimp My Life,” paid some of his campaign workers not with cash or checks … but with gift cards … American Express … gift cards. Wow.
Mark Don Givens says he went to work for the Scott campaign for a job and to get paid. He joined the campaign after seeing an ad on Craigslist.
The Scott campaign made jobs its number one priority and said it was going to go job hunting for the people of Florida.
When part time workers like Givens went to work for the Scott campaign at the Republican Party headquarters in Tampa, they made calls and went door-to-door to tell voters about Scott’s campaign slogan, “Let’s Get to Work.” Givens says he and his fellow staffers thought they were going to work and would get a paycheck for what they were doing.
But it didn’t work out that way.
Givens says a supervisor told him the campaign can’t give him a check and that instead he would receive gift cards for the hours he worked.
In addition, Givens says he wasn’t the only temporary staffer who received the American Express gift card and he and others were not happy about it.
“Obviously you can’t pay bills with gift cards,” Givens says, and it made him angry that the campaign would offer them to him. In addition, Givens says there was a delay in receiving most of his compensation. He says he kept waiting and waiting and couldn’t get anything.
A spokesperson for Scott acknowledges there was a problem getting Givens his check. The spokesperson says a supervisor made the decision to give Givens gift cards instead, however the campaign says the cards can be reimbursed for cash and it will pick up the service charge or it will issue a check in return for the cards.
And here’s the video of the news segment:
And then there’s this healthy nugget from the folks at TPM:
“This would violate both tax laws and labor laws,” Melanie Sloan, the Executive Director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) told TPMmuckraker in an email. “It looks like the newly elected AG will be investigating the newly elected governor.
But will Fox News-babe Pam Bondi investigate? Or will this go the way most expect Scott’s latest Medicare fraud claim to go, once he appoints the state investigator responsible for looking into it?
By the way, I’ve bought Amex gift cards in the past — for my kids, as birthday presents — so one thing I do know is that they come in denominations no greater than $100. Could the Scott campaign be using the cards to pay their staffers in denominations so small, they don’t have to report the wages to Uncle Sam? Could we be seeing yet another, brand new flavor of Scott-fraud in Flawrida?
Meanwhile, Gollum’s gal-pal, Jennifer Carroll, has her own problems. And they involve an agency her running-mate is very familiar with: the FBI:
The company from which Lt. Gov.-elect Jennifer Carroll said she subleased office space for seven years is being investigated by Jacksonville City Hall. Carroll used the firm’s address to prove her consulting firm had a Duval County address and was eligible for a city contract program.
Altered lease documents were also used when city officials were reviewing Carroll’s application for the program. Ivy Johnson, former head of the city’s Equal Business Opportunity Division, approved that application. She was fired in May amid accusations that she forged documents on behalf of companies trying to get business with the city. The FBI is now investigating a handful of contracts related to the incident.
The company that subleased space to Carroll, Rivers Constructors, told the city that it had a Duval County address when it applied for the Jacksonville Small and Emerging Business program, but a Times-Union investigation found that the listed address is a rarely used office space. The company has received $836,123 in contracts through the program and has a much larger location in Clay County. Carroll’s company received no money from the city.
So what does Gollum have to say about that?
“Jennifer is a wonderful person,” the former health-care executive said. “I’m sure she wanted to do the right thing. I don’t know what you’re talking about, though.”
Oh, well that clears that up then. Thanks, Mr. Smeagel.