For the most part, Florida's elected officials suffered through the economic downturn like the rest of us. But some fared better.
Florida’s Congressional Delegation
Net Worth: $1.6 to $6.4 million
Changes: Nelson, the wealthier of Florida’s senators, ranked 38th among all members of the Senate, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, with a 2007 net worth in the range of $1.7 million to $6.6 million. This year’s disclosure reveals a net worth between $1.6 million and $6.2 million. Nelson’s largest assets are pasture and undeveloped land in Brevard County valued at between $1,250,002 and $5,500,000. Last October, Nelson sold $300,005 to $650,000 worth of stock that he and his wife held in Brown & Brown, a Daytona Beach insurance company.
U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez (R)
Net Worth: $863,027 to $2.5 million
Changes: With a net worth between $1.2 million and$3.6 million in 2007, Martinez ranked 46th among all members of the Senate, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, before stepping down last month. This year, the retiring lawmaker’s net worth is in the range of $863,027 to $2.5 million, with between $413,012 and $1 million of that total in IRA accounts. Other holdings include mutual funds, money market accounts, a bank CD worth $50,001 to $100,000 and rental property in Orlando worth between $100,001 and $250,000.
U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R)
District 5: Hernando, Citrus and Sumter counties, most of Pasco and Levy counties and parts of Polk, Lake and Marion counties
Net Worth: $333,053 to $1.2 million
Changes: The Brooksville Republican’s ill-timed stock transactions hurt her bottom line and also provided fodder for her 2010 election opponent. Brown-Waite’s transactions, as first reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, included the purchase of $1,001 to $15,000 worth of Citigroup stock on Oct. 2, 2008, the day before Congress passed a massive rescue plan for banks like Citigroup. Eleven days later, Brown-Waite, who was serving on the House Financial Services Committee at the time, purchased $1,001 to $15,000 worth of stock in Bank of America. The Cleveland Plain Dealer and others have questioned the timing of Brown-Waite’s purchases. Brown-Waite has defended herself, telling the St. Petersburg Times that she had “no more inside information than anybody watching C-SPAN.” Besides that, the value of stocks she bought have dropped significantly since her purchases. Citigroup is trading at about $4 a share, significantly lower than the $22.50 she paid on Oct. 2. Shares in Bank of America, which sold for $22.79 the day Brown-Waite bought them, are trading at around $17. Brown-Waite has also taken a hit in the real estate market. The three-bedroom, two-bath Brooksville home she and her husband purchased in 2005 for $600,000 had a market value of $413,720 in 2008, according to the Hernando County property appraiser.
District 13: Most of Manatee County and
all of DeSoto, Hardee and Sarasota counties
Net Worth: -$70.9 million to $345.2 million
Changes: The sputtering economy and tumult in the auto industry have taken a toll on Buchanan, who according to the Center for Responsive Politics, was the eighth-richest member of Congress in 2007. In 2007, for example, Buchanan received between $1 million and $5 million in “partnership income” from Sarasota 500, his Sarasota Ford dealership. In 2008, that income dropped to between $100,001and $1 million. Likewise, another holding, Graham Construction, a commercial construction firm in Melbourne, provided him with between $100,001 and $1 million in “partnership income” in 2007. In 2008, Buchanan reported no income from Graham Construction. Meanwhile, Venice Dodge, a dealership owned partly by Buchanan, is one of 789 dealerships nationwide slated for closing by Chrysler. Buchanan has also taken a hit on the home front. His nearly 10,000-sq.-ft. home on Longboat Key was worth $7 million at the end of 2008, according to the Sarasota County property appraiser, down from $8 million the year before.
The value of Buchanan’s home in Longboat Key fell by $1 million to $7 million.