March 24, 2017
Best of the States
Under radar, Florida spent about $250M on private lawyers, fees
AP Tallahassee reporter Gary Fineout started noticing how often Florida under Republican Gov. Rick Scott was losing court cases over its policies and was forced to pay opposing attorney fees. He decided to start a tally. But those fees would be just the tip of a quarter-billion-dollar iceberg. The money the state spent on private law firms to defend itself dwarfed that initial amount.
Getting that overall tally was the hard part. When Gary asked what was spent on outside legal counsel during Scott’s half-dozen years in office, the state attorney general told him: “We do not have that information."
So, Gary set out to search through the documents himself, revealing the true cost to taxpayers. For bringing to light a huge chunk of opaque spending and hold state leaders to account, Gary wins this week’s Best of the States.