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- 2013 - July - 16th -

One-in-four Florida House members a millionaire

by Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida

Republican lawmakers are on average doing better than their Democratic counterparts when it comes to financial well-being.

Of newly filed financial-disclosure forms that have been made public, the average Republican House member is worth $1.19 million, while Democratic House members average $835,666.

Combined, the average net worth of state House members is $1.06 million, but the figures will change as a number of annual disclosure forms have yet to be released by the state Commission on Ethics.

The forms released show that nearly one-fourth of the 120 House members — 19 Republicans and 10 Democrats — reported net worths above $1 million.

Another seven — all Republicans — whose financial disclosure forms have yet to be submitted or posted were in the millionaire class a year ago.

Overall, despite 28 state House members reportedly losing money over the past year and 11 showing a negative net worth, the average net worth of Florida representatives is up nearly $140,000 in the past year.

For members of the GOP, the average is up $193,141, while Democrats on average saw their net worths grow by $49,905.

On the other side of the Capitol, the average net worth of senators whose paperwork had been posted as of Monday is $3.9 million, with the average increase at $315,040.

Among House members, Rep. Patrick Rooney, a West Palm Beach Republican who runs family businesses in Palm Beach County including the Palm Beach Kennel Club, is currently atop the fiscal class at $7.9 million.

But that is expected to change once Rep. Jose Oliva (R-Miami Lakes) submits his paperwork. The chief executive officer of Oliva Cigar Co., Oliva reported his net worth at $9.7 million a year ago.

Oliva is in line to be House speaker in 2018.

House Speaker Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel) reported his net worth at $288,075, up $20,132.

Rep. Steve Crisafulli (R-Merritt Island) who is next in line to be speaker, posted that his net worth dropped $47,652 to $375,127. Rep. Richard Corcoran (R-Land O' Lakes) expected to become speaker in 2016, is now worth $392,016, up from $341,625 in the past year.

Oliva is one of 26 representatives whose forms had yet to be posted by the commission as of Monday afternoon.

Most have been filed but await redaction of information such as Social Security numbers.

Representatives were required to submit their disclosure forms by July 1. However, fines don't begin for late filing until Sept. 1.

As of Monday afternoon, the commission reported it had yet to receive paperwork from Oliva and Reps. Michael Bileca (R-Miami), Matt Caldwell (R-Lehigh Acres), Neil Combee (R-Polk City), Reggie Fullwood (D-Jacksonville), Eduardo Gonzalez (R-Hialeah), Jared Moskowitz (D-Coral Springs), Betty Reed (D-Tampa) and Robert Schenck (R-Spring Hill).

Rep. Cary Pigman (R-Avon Park), a U.S. Army Reserve lieutenant colonel, has been given until Oct. 18 to file because he was deployed after session to Kuwait to serve as an emergency medicine physician.

Rep. Irv Slosberg (D-Boca Raton) is the wealthiest member of the minority party at $6.99 million, up from $6.75 million a year earlier. Slosberg is president of Slosberg Report from Israel, a newsmagazine show on the Internet and on public television stations.

At the other end of the fiscal spectrum is attorney David Hood (R-Daytona Beach Shores), who reported owing $170,000.

Hood, who owns a $900,000 home in Daytona Beach and a $660,000 home in Daytona Beach Shores, has four separate loans out worth a combined $1.428 million.

Among Democrats, Ricardo Rangel (D-Kissimmee), who owns a consulting business, reported owing $126,401. The bulk of Rangel's debt is in student loans. 

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