July 30, 2014

Tallahassee Trend

State Capital: Florida's millionaire lawmakers

The net worth of Florida's wealthiest senators and representatives

Amy Keller | 9/9/2013

Forty-nine state lawmakers are millionaires (nearly one of every three), according to state financial disclosure records. In the Senate, 16 legislators are worth at least $1 million, with Senate President Don Gaetz the wealthiest, with a net worth of more than $26 million. In the House, 33 lawmakers are worth at least $1 million; the richest is Rep. José Oliva (R-Miami Lakes), whose wealth stems from his family’s cigar business. Following is a list of the Legislature’s 49 millionaires, with a look at the holdings of the 10 richest. Figures are for 2012, except where noted:

Sen. Don Gaetz
Sen. Don Gaetz

1. Sen. Don Gaetz
(R-Niceville)
$26,219,471 Up+5.4% from 2011

Gaetz’s fortune stems from Vitas Healthcare, the Miami-based for-profit hospice company he and his partners co-founded in 1983 with $1,800 and sold in 2004 for $410 million. He has an array of investments, including more than $6.5 million in stocks and non-marketable securities, $8.4 million in cash (or cash equivalents such as CDs and money market funds) and another $10.4 million in real estate, including seven homes, several undeveloped lots and partial ownership of a Pensacola office building. Gaetz lists an annual income of $627,985 — $248,440 of that from Treveron, a property investment and management services company.

Sen. Wilton Simpson
Sen. Wilton Simpson

2. Sen. Wilton Simpson
(R-Trilby)
$15,562,617 Up+27.0% from 2011

The freshman senator derives most of his wealth from two businesses — an egg farm in Pasco County and Simpson Environmental Services, a contractor specializing in hazardous waste removal. With 1 million chickens, Simpson Farms supplies eggs to supermarkets across the state and is valued at nearly $8.8 million. Other major holdings include a home and property in Pasco County valued at $440,497; a home in Homosassa worth $197,248; and more than $1.3 million worth of stock in Florida Traditions Bank, a community bank in east Pasco County that he co-founded in 2007.

 Sen. Jeremy Ring
Sen. Jeremy Ring

3. Sen. Jeremy Ring
(D-Margate)
$14,117,769 Down-6.4% from 2011

Ring got in on the ground floor of the dot-com boom in 1992 when he was hired as the first sales executive for Yahoo. He started the company’s East Coast office out of his apartment in 1996 and was senior sales director for the search engine until 2001, when he and his wife relocated from New York to Florida. Today, he has a residence in Parkland worth moreo than $1.5 million and about $11.7 million in stocks and other marketable securities. Other investments include $228,037 in Mercurian, an upstart internet company; a $24,272 investment in Convizion, a Miami-based investment holding company; and a $300,000 investment in CT Capital in Fort Lauderdale.

Sen. Jeff Brandes
Sen. Jeff Brandes

4. Sen. Jeff Brandes
(R-St. Petersburg)
$12,198,673 Up+17.8% from 2011

Brandes, 37, owes his riches to his family’s lumber fortune. He is the grandson of Linton Tibbetts, who owned Cox Lumber in St. Petersburg until he sold it to a subsidiary of Home Depot in 2006. Following the sale of Cox in 2006, he took over the responsibility of managing his family’s real estate portfolio. His financial holdings include more than $2.5 million in several brokerage accounts; nearly $7.5 million in an array of business investments; and more than $1.7 million worth of real estate, including his $850,000 home in St. Petersburg and a $310,000 home in Tallahassee.

Rep. José Oliva
Rep. José Oliva

5. Rep. José Oliva*
(R-Miami Lakes)
$9,677,988 Not available

Oliva is CEO of Oliva Cigar, his family’s business. His 25% holding in the company is valued at $10 million. Other large assets include more than $2 million in real estate investments, including $800,000 worth of property in Georgia.

Sen. David Simmons
Sen. David Simmons

6. Sen. David Simmons
(R-Altamonte Springs)
$9,114,189 Up+19.1% from 2011

Simmons, 61, is an attorney and financial managing partner of de Beaubien, Knight, Simmons, Mantzaris & Neal, one of central Florida’s largest law firms. Simmons lists a 22.5% partnership interest in the firm, valued at more than $1.2 million. Other assets include a Morgan Stanley Dean Witter account worth $909,308; a 401(k) worth more than $555,000; and his $2.4 million lakefront home in Maitland. Simmons also owns a personal residence in Tallahassee worth $421,245, a third personal residence in Altamonte Springs worth $800,000 and several Orlando-area rental properties. He reported receiving more than $1.5 million in income and partnership interest from his law firm in 2011.

Tags: Politics & Law, Government/Politics & Law

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