Teamsters file ethics complaint against Gov. Rick Scott

6:03 PM, Sep 14, 2011   |    comments
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Tallahassee, Florida - The Teamsters Union is angry with Gov. Rick Scott over his push to privatize prisons in South Florida.

Union members have filed an ethics complaint against the governor because they say he has a clear conflict of interest on privatizing prisons.

The Teamsters say Gov. Scott and the Republican Party accepted nearly $1 million in inaugural contributions from two private prison corporations: the Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group.

In return, the union contends, the companies got the governor to advocate for the privatization of prisons.

The Teamsters argue the plan will not save the state any money, diminish public safety and result in the loss of at least 3,800 jobs in South Florida.

Teamsters International Vice President Ken Wood says Scott is not looking for the best interests of Floridians.

"I'm pretty ticked off. I'm going to tell you why I'm ticked off. Our elected leaders should look out for all Floridians. They shouldn't be looking out for the few that give campaign contributions."

The complaint against Gov. Scott has been filed with the Florida Commission on Ethics.

Michael Filler of the Teamsters Public Service Division says the prison corporations dumped a lot of money into the political process and one will probably win the privatization contract as a result.

"We have the fox guarding the hen house. That's bad public policy. It's bad because it's against public safety and it will result in the loss of jobs that are critical to Floridians."

A spokesman for the governor says there is no ethics violation.

Lane Wright says several hundred companies and individuals donated to the governor's inauguration fund and the money went to the Republican Party, not Gov. Scott, as required by law.

Wright says the prison contract will go to the low bidder and Gov. Scott will have nothing to do with the selection.

Dave Heller

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