Scott goes to appeals court in financial disclosure fight

Attorneys for Gov. Rick Scott want an appeals court to block a Leon County circuit judge from moving forward with a case that alleges Scott has failed to properly comply with the state’s financial-disclosure requirements.

Scott’s attorneys filed a petition last week at the 1st District Court of Appeal after Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers refused to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Tallahassee lawyer Donald Hinkle.

The petition by Scott’s attorneys contends, in part, that the Florida Commission on Ethics --- not the circuit judge --- has authority over financial-disclosure issues.

“The circuit court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the underlying action because the subject matter of the complaint below is committed to the jurisdiction of a separate administrative body: the Florida Commission on Ethics,” the petition said.

Gievers issued a three-page order Feb. 26 denying the request to dismiss the case.

Gievers did not give a detailed explanation but wrote that the “four corners of the complaint sufficiently state a cause of action.”

Hinkle filed the lawsuit last year, alleging that Scott has not complied with the state’s “Sunshine Amendment,” which requires elected officials to disclose details of their personal finances.

“Governor Scott has failed to fully disclose his financial interests by not disclosing the underlying assets in revocable trusts and various partnerships,” the lawsuit said. “Governor Scott also attempts to include in a ‘blind’ trust assets that do not qualify and to which he is not ‘blind.’ “

Scott filed a financial-disclosure form last summer that listed a net worth of about $149.3 million as of Dec. 31, 2016.

The disclosure listed a blind trust valued at $130.5 million.