What do citizens of DeBary and every other Florida taxpayer have in common?
We’re all being deftly screwed by “outside attorneys” and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it.
A recent audit by the Associated Press found that between 2011 and 2017, the State of Florida spent more than $237 million of our precious tax dollars on private lawyers to defend the Scott administrations agenda.
That doesn’t include the nearly $16 million the state has been ordered to reimburse opposing attorney fees – bringing the total amount of public funds paid to private law firms to some $253 million in just six-years.
According to Dominic Calabro, president of Florida TaxWatch, “A quarter of a billion dollars is a gosh lot of money.”
Goshdamn right it is.
Perhaps more disturbing is the fact that much of the money used to pay outside legal fees goes unaccounted for in the normal budget process – and no one in state government is closely monitoring billable hours or scrutinizing the massive invoices for services rendered.
You read that right – no one in state government keeps track of overall spending for outside legal services.
Governor Scott – a reptilian attorney by training who made a billion-gagillion-fafillion-shabadabalo-shabadamillion-shabaling-shabalomillion dollars overseeing the largest Medicare fraud in United States history – sees absolutely no problem using our money to pay select private law firms to defend losing policy and political battles – to include the convoluted and mega-expensive water-rights war with the State of Georgia.
That decades-old dispute is being litigated by our advocates at Latham & Watkins at a cost of $825.00 per hour for its best and brightest. In total, Florida has paid more than $41 million in the past 18-months for that case alone.
You do believe they are looking out for us, right?
Unfortunately, many of Attorney General Pam Bondi’s corps of over 450 lawyers currently on the state payroll are busy with the important work of defending Scott’s cockamamie policies and litigating the constitutionality of the often asinine laws and regulations passed by our illustrious state lawmakers – like the coming legal fight over the legislature’s ham-handed botch of the medicinal marijuana roll out.
I agree with House Speaker Richard Corcoran’s assessment – “We’re getting gouged.”
If that’s what they call public sodomy in Tallahassee these days.
Then, yeah, we’re getting “gouged” alright.