Tampa Bay Times by Adam Smith
January 8, 2018
Blasting Gov. Rick Scott for secrecy, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham today wrote a $1,200 personal check for records into recent nursing home deaths that she said should have been released voluntarily and much sooner.
“This isn’t about me or Rick Scott. This is about the 14 seniors who died and the public’s right to know the truth. We need to know exactly what went wrong so we can prevent an incident like this from ever happening again,” Graham said in a press release. “I wish the governor or Legislature, with all the state’s resources, was fully investigating the tragedy and why the state didn’t intervene to help — but if they won’t do their jobs, I will.”
A governor’s office spokesman said, “We are finalizing her request and will have it complete very soon.”
Graham filed public record requests for information about governor’s office involvement role in the tragedy after Hurricane Irma, amid revelations the nursing home had contacted a personal cell phone the governor distributed as an emergency contact line.
After waiting months for a response, Graham last week demanded the records be released and promptly received a $1,200 bill from the governor’s office for staff time it said was involved in retrieving them.
“It is troubling and totally unacceptable that Governor Rick Scott has refused to voluntarily release all the records surrounding Hollywood Hills and his office’s role in the tragedy. Disappointing, but not surprising, given his history of hiding public records and violating the Sunshine laws,” Graham said. “This is a small price to pay for the people of Florida to know the full truth.” [READ MORE]