Billionaire businessman Rick Scott has come out of virtually nowhere to take an astounding double-digit lead in a recent poll against Attorney General Bill McCollum for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. This is thanks mainly to three things: (1) charisma-less career politician McCollum isn't exactly the kind of guy to excite any base, let alone the Tea Party strain, (2) Scott has spent millions of his own money on advertising, and (3) Scott unapologetically championed Arizona's controversial immigration bill even when most of Florida's GOP establishment was wary of it.
Well, now it seems Scott might have invested in a company that helped undocumented workers send money back to their families in Mexico. Yes, some of the money spent plastering Scott's anti-immigration message all over TV adds might have actually been made off of illegal immigrants.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, documents are making the rounds that show Rick Scott's company, Richard L. Scott Investments LLC, lent $12.5 million in 2004 and 2005 to Miami-based Emida Technologies.
From the Sentinel:
Emida, headquartered in Miami, provides electronic pre-paid services ranging from phone cards to money transfers, and focuses on Central and South American markets. According to its Web site, the company merged with another called IPP, which primarily focused on helping Hispanic migrant workers in Arizona transfer money and pay bills back in Mexico.
It's just the latest detail in Scott's shady background in business.
From our April roundup of Scott's past:
- Probably not coincidentally at all, Scott was once the CEO of the largest private operator of health-care facilities in the U.S.: Hospital Corporation of America.
- He was ousted from that position by the board of directors when the company was under investigation for one of the biggest Medicare and Medicaid fraud cases in history.
- HCA ended up having to pay more than $1.7 billion in fines and settlements for the fraud that occurred while Scott was CEO.
- He was never personally charged with anything; it never seemed to be a high priority of prosecutors.
- After HCA, he started Solantic, another health-care company, which has faced several discrimination lawsuits because Scott issued suggestions that the company hire only young, fit, and "mainstream" employees without accents.
- He was an ownership partner, along with George W. Bush, of the Texas Rangers.