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State Capital: Florida's millionaire lawmakers

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
$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
$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
$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.

Sen. Eleanor Sobel
Sen. Eleanor Sobel

7. Sen. Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood)
$8,763,945 Up+ 6.7% from 2011

Sobel, 67, is married to Hollywood dermatologist Stuart Sobel and reportedly derives much of her wealth from her husband’s medical practice and a side business, Emrelle Skin Care Products, which she started with her husband. The majority of her wealth is in property and mutual funds. Her real estate holdings include a $2.5 million condo in Manhattan. She also lists an office condo valued at $650,000 and her Hollywood residence, which is worth $420,000. She lists mutual fund holdings worth more than $4 million.

Rep. Patrick Rooney Jr.
Rep. Patrick Rooney Jr.

8. Rep. Patrick Rooney Jr.
(R-West Palm Beach)
$7,928,000 Up+174.6% from 2011

Rooney’s wealth stems from his family, who are majority owners and operators of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rooney’s grandfather, Arthur J. Rooney, paid the NFL a franchise fee of $2,500 to bring the Pittsburgh Pirates (as they were then known) into the league, and the Rooney family has retained a controlling interest since. The family later got into the gambling business with investments in a New York horse racing track and a dog racing track (the Palm Beach Kennel Club) in West Palm Beach. The bulk of Rooney’s wealth is derived from interest in various trusts, including 100% interest (worth more than $3.74 million) in the Patrick J. Rooney Jr. 2011 Irrevocable Trust, which owns cash and 500 voting and 2,020 non-voting shares of Yonkers Racing Corp. He also listed 14.3% interest (worth more than $1.5 million) in the Patrick Rooney Sr. 2011 Delaware Trust, which owns cash, marketable securities and 9,175 voting and 9,175 non-voting shares of Rooney Enterprises, which owns the common stock of Pittsburgh Steelers Sports.

Rep. Irving Slosberg
Rep. Irving Slosberg

9. Rep. Irving Slosberg (D-Boca Raton)
$6,986,792 Up+3.4% from 2011

Slosberg became wealthy importing handbags. He reports a $4.2-million holding in his Pompano Beach import company, Mediterranean Trading. Other major holdings include his $800,000 house in Boca Raton and various brokerage accounts valued at $760,587.

Rep. Bill Hager
Rep. Bill Hager

10. Rep. Bill Hager
(R-Delray Beach)
$6,737,000 Up+12.3% from 2011

Hager — a former insurance commissioner for Iowa and former president and CEO of NCCI, the nation’s largest workers’ compensation and health care informatics company — earned close to $550,000 from his reinsurance arbitration business last year. Hager, who was recently divorced, reported a 50% ownership in his Boca Raton residence, valued at $1.4 million. Other large assets include 50% of several IRAs, valued at $4.55 million, and 50% of several investment accounts containing a total of $4.95 million.

11 through 49

11. Sen. Charles Dean (R-Inverness)
$6,714,000 Up+40.6 from 2011
Retired sheriff, cattleman and consultant

12. Rep. Travis Hutson* (R-Elkton)
$6,689,629 Not available
Real estate agent

13. Sen. John Thrasher (R-St. Augustine)
$6,355,515 Down-3.5% from 2011

14. Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater)
$6,214,406 Up+9.4% from 2011
CEO, GCI Printing Services

15. Rep. Jimmy Patronis (R-Panama City)
$5,667,203 Down-6.3% from 2011
Restaurateur, Captain Anderson’s Waterfront Market in Panama City

16. Rep. Kenneth Roberson (R-Port Charlotte)
$5,556,690 Up+2.4% from 2011
Funeral home owner

17. Sen. Gwen Margolis (D-Miami)
$5,388,175 Up+2.5% from 2011
Real estate broker/investor

18. Rep. John Wood (R-Winter Haven)
$4,714,201 Up+4.0% from 2011
Attorney, Realtor, CEO of John Wood Enterprises

19. Rep. Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples)
$4,459,257 Up+9.8% from 2011

20. Sen. Garrett Richter (R-Naples)
$4,326,158 Down-5.2% from 2011
President, First National Bank of the Gulf Coast

21. Rep. Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton)
$4,057,000 Up+25.3% from 2011
Owner, Boyd Insurance & Investment Services; president and partner, Boyd Group, a commercial real estate and investment firm

22. Rep. Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala)
$4,050,248 Down-26.4% from 2011
Funeral home owner and consultant

23. Rep. Tom Goodson (R-Titusville)
$3,945,703 Up+2.3% from 2011
Road contractor

24. Rep. Michael Bileca* (R-Miami)
$3,855,584 Not available
Dental consultant

25. Rep. (Lance) David Richardson (D-Miami Beach)
$3,097,801 Down-10.6% from 2011

26. Rep. W. Keith Perry (R-Gainesville)
$3,051,834 Up+24.1% from 2011

27. Rep. Doug Broxson (R-Midway)
$3,003,733 Up+.03% from 2011
Insurance agent

28. Rep. Doug Holder (R-Sarasota)
$2,973,986 Down-2.8% from 2011
Businessman with a 40% interest in an Aaron’s franchise and a truck stop electrification company

29. Sen. Tom Lee (R-Brandon)
$2,813,655 Down-11.2% from 2011
Vice president and director, Sabal Homes of Florida

30. Rep. Bryan Nelson (R-Apopka)
$2,500,000 Down-4.8% from 2011
Insurance agent

31. Rep. Larry Lee Jr. (D-Port St. Lucie)
$2,345,845 Down-7.9% from 2011
Insurance agent

32. Rep. Dan Raulerson (R-Plant City)
$2,310,000 Up+85.5% from 2011
Certified public accountant

33. Sen. Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee)
$2,202,106 Up+15.4% from 2011
CEO, Florida Association of District School Superintendents

34. Rep. Steve Precourt (R-Orlando)
$2,178,500 Up+3.6% from 2011
Business owner and engineer

35. Rep. MaryLynn Magar (R-Tequesta)
$2,038,346 Up+8.1% from 2011
Vice president, HeartCare Imaging

36. Rep. Dana Young (R-Tampa)
$2,024,574 Up+123.8% from 2011

37. Rep. Elaine Schwartz (D-Hollywood)
$1,973,439 Up+8.3% from 2011

38. Rep. Lori Berman (D-Delray Beach)
$1,962,605 Down-2.7% from 2011

39. Rep. Richard Stark (D-Weston)
$1,890,125 Up+3.4% from 2011
Financial services

40. Rep. Jim Waldman (D-Coconut Creek)
$1,782,124 Up+61.1% from 2011
Attorney/general counsel, Keiser University

41. Rep. Kevin Rader (D -Delray Beach)
$1,773,261 Up+94.0% from 2011
Insurance agent/business owner

42. Sen. Bill Galvano* (R-Bradenton)
$1,496,897 Not available

43. Rep. Ronald “Doc” Renuart (R-Ponte Vedra Beach)
$1,474,211 Up+23.4% from 2011

44. Rep. Clovis Watson Jr. (D-Alachua)
$1,469,000 Up+16.6% from 2011
Retired city manager

45. Rep. Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart)
$1,378,608 Up+4.5% from 2011
Health information technology consultant

46. Sen. Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island)
$1,358,794 Down-4.2% from 2011

47. Sen. Greg Evers (R-Crestview)
$1,086,400 Up+33.1% from 2011

48. Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda (D-Tallahassee)
$1,020,992 Up+14.9% from 2011
Attorney/college professor

49. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach)
$1,014,928 Up+5.2% from 2011

* Financial information is for calendar year 2011 because the lawmaker had not filed a 2012 financial disclosure statement by press time. An updated list will be posted here once those statements are filed.