Remember that audit the Republican Party Of Florida had done recently that only found fault with Jim Greer and former Republican turned Independent Charlie Crist? It seems they gave a free pass to the Party as a whole and found nothing irregular.
However, there’s something they left out.
Dean Cannon, the incoming Florida House Speaker, travels around the State in a plane he co-owns with GK Aviation and which he flies himself. He uses the plane for political business and helps candidates campaign statewide and charges the Republican Party for it. In fact, donors to the Republican Party of Florida have footed the bill, at least $256,272, since 2006.
From the Orlando Sentinel:
In many respects, Cannon’s arrangement appears similar to one set up by ousted party chair Jim Greer, who used party funds to charter his own plane to fly him and other officials around the state. Last month, the party released a scathing financial audit that accused Greer, as part of a broader review of $7.3 million in credit-card spending under his tenure, of inappropriately using party money on his plane.
But the auditors gave Cannon a pass.
Cannon co-owns the plane along with the company GK Aviation, and a small group of businessmen and lawyers from Cannon’s former employer, which is the law firm GrayRobinson.
The audit conducted for the RPOF scrutinized all spending under Jim Greer, but never contacted GK Aviation, nor Cannon’s former law firm until the Orlando Sentinel asked about it last week. The auditors also looked closely at Greer’s flying arrangements closely. Party Chairman John Thrasher said that while Cannon’s flying was to “help candidates,” he wasn’t sure what Greer used his airplane for.
Cannon charged roughly $190,000 over three years and reimbursed the party for $2,994.95 for meals he said were accidentally charged to the party — including $2,530 for a 2008 birthday dinner at the Hot Olives restaurant in Winter Park. As the audit was beginning, he repaid another $465 for groceries, movies and art he said were inadvertently charged in 2007.
Investigators with the Atlanta law firm Alston & Bird went to great lengths to document Greer’s flying arrangements between 2007 and 2009 through a charter carrier in Merritt Island called Baer Air. The final report concluded that the party paid $326,111 to fly Greer and others on a plane he owned, and that a portion of what the party paid — $73,264 — was improper because it went to pay off debts Greer owed to Baer Air for replacing the plane’s engines….
….Unlike Greer’s deal, the roughly $300-per-hour the RPOF paid for the use of his plane — a four-seater, smaller than Greer’s Piper Navajo — did not include any payments for past maintenance but instead included only the cost of future “routine maintenance” to keep the plane airworthy, he said.
“This arrangement is completely different than Jim Greer’s arrangement, because I don’t derive any personal benefit from the use of the plane,” Cannon said.
You can read the entire story here.