Does Rick Scott Hate Fat People and Hispanics?
Rick Scott's 2010 campaign was such a Tea Party-assisted, out-of-nowhere effort that many Floridians barely had time to fully comprehend his past. Well, this time around Democratic groups have ample time to remind voters of the governor's checkered business past.
Democratic political committee American Bridge is out with a new ad reminding people of the time Scott faced a lawsuit for discriminatory hiring practices against Hispanics and larger-sized people.
Scott made his money as CEO of Hospital Corporation of America, a company that ended up paying $1.7 billion in fines to the federal government. After he was ousted from HCA he started Solantic, a chain of walk-in health care clinics.
Solantic was hit with a series of lawsuits claiming discriminatory hiring practices. Some of the suits claimed that the policies were initiated by Scott himself. Among those Scott allegedly did not want to hire: overweight women, Hispanics with strong accents, older women, and black women.
All of those suits ended up being settled, with none going to court. Solantic never admitted to any wrongdoing.
The new ad featured Dr. David Yarian. He worked as a regional medical director for Solantic.
"Scott directly told me fat people could not work for us," stated Yarian. "When I wanted to hire a Hispanic individual, who I was extremely well qualified, who I like, I was told I could not hire him because the Hispanic accent was too strong."
"During a staff meeting that Rick Scott was at there was a comment made that the people working at Solantic had to be mainstream," he continues. "I was very concerned for the potential for that to be discriminatory."
According to the Buzz, the Scott campaign was quick to strike back. The claimed Yarian was fired for taking freebies from pharmaceutical companies. Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera was quick to try and neutralize the anti-Hispanic claims.
"The facts are simple -- Charlie Crist drove our economy into the ground as Governor and then he ran away," said the lieutenant governor. "I am insulted that he would resort to using the Hispanic community as a pawn in his sick, desperate game to regain a position that he chose to abandon in 2010 in pursuit of his self-centered goals."
Crist's campaign is not behind the ad.
Yarian's claims are nothing new. He's been making them since at least 2009. At the time, Scott's countered the argument not by saying that Yarian was fired, but that he was a "one disgruntled former employee who left the company after only four months."
Nor is Yarian the only one who claimed discriminatory hiring practices at Solantic. Seven people ended up suing Solantic for discrimination. Those lawsuits were combined and quickly settled. The settlements prohibit the plaintiffs from speaking publicly.
It's not like any of this information is new. We briefly noted them here in the first thing we ever wrote about Scott, and yet Floridians still elected him into office.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.