|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
The $60 million wouldn’t help companies such as 21st Century Oncology, which operates 179 treatment centers in 16 states and six foreign countries, but the $20 million in research grants could benefit smaller organizations not affiliated with universities.
"There’s something in this for us, and it’s not exactly the same as what’s in it for the University of Florida and other centers," said 21st Century Oncology Chief Medical Officer Constantine Mantz. "But to his credit, (Scott) has thought about some of the little guys in the state."
Mantz said most funding for its roughly 20-person research staff comes from drug companies and federal grants. He expects the company to "get in line" with research proposals, competing with others for a slice of the $20 million.
"We really have not had any ability to access state funds for any of our research activities, and so this is important for us," Mantz said.
On Friday, the ethics commission without comment accepted Executive Director Philip Claypool's recommended opinion, which confirmed that Scott would likely be shielded from potential violations of state ethics laws by creating the trust.
Scott's holdings are mostly in large, publicly traded companies, but attorneys for the governor also provided specific details of five other investments with clear Florida ties. Scott's most controversial investment, Solantic Corp., an urgent care company he founded in 2001, wasn't part of the panel's review.
Scott last month said he was selling the company after pushing back against criticism that the firm could profit from health care initiatives his administration was advancing. But Scott and Burgess said Friday that the sale hasn't happened yet.
"We're just waiting for regulatory approval," Scott said, adding that he expected the sale to be finalized within 30 days.
Burgess said Solantic's sale to minority investors in the firm has been delayed by difficulty in transferring a number of licenses held by Solantic. The move could take as long as 60 days, he said. Scott initially refused to sell Solantic, then moved it into a trust held by his wife, Ann, while refusing to restrict the firm from seeking business from the state. The ethics opinion Scott sought and received Friday made no mention of his wife's assets.
While Scott spent $73 million of his own money on last fall's race for governor, his wife steered $12.8 million from the F. Annette Scott Revocable Trust to her husband's campaign.
As questions lingered about Solantic's possible role in a state Medicaid overhaul or expanded employee drug testing sought by Scott, the governor last month announced the sale.
Scott has talked about putting his assets into a blind trust since the campaign. But it, too, is a lengthy process, Burgess said Friday.
Scott, though, insisted later, "It's formed."
Three of the companies detailed in Friday's request from Scott for an advisory opinion from the ethics panel are in the propane and natural gas transportation business. The fourth is Republic Services, the nation's second-largest waste-hauling company.
Scott also is a limited partner in a New York-based investment fund that has a controlling interest in 21st Century Oncology, which operates cancer radiation centers in Florida.