Most lawmakers showing the money; others missed the memo
Sen. George Gainer, a Panama City Republican, owns a fleet of auto dealerships in North Florida.y

Five legislators, all in the House, owe more than their assets, primarily due to home or student loans.

State lawmakers were supposed to file annual financial-disclosure reports by July 1, and most completed the assignment on or close to the deadline.

But the 25 members — 16 Republicans and nine Democrats — who had outstanding paperwork as of Thursday morning still get a grace period until Sept. 1 before they could face fines. Those fines are $25 a day, with a cap of $1,500.

The forms require disclosure of estimated net worths, assets valued at more than $1,000, liabilities of more than $1,000 and information about income.

Of the reports filed, holding the top spot for wealth is Sen. George Gainer, a Panama City Republican who owns a fleet of auto dealerships in North Florida.

The former Bay County Commissioner, who cruised into state office in 2016, reported a $47.24 million net worth as of the end of 2019. That was up from $46.46 million the prior year.

Close behind is Rep. Ralph Massullo, a Lecanto Republican and dermatologist.

Massullo, also first elected to state office in 2016, reported a net worth of $46.1 million as of April 30. That was up from $42.4 million a year earlier.

Five legislators, all in the House, owe more than their assets, primarily because of home or student loans.

The reports also show that barring any major shake-up by voters, the House won’t be run by a millionaire the next two years, while the Senate will be headed by one of its wealthier members.

Rep. Chris Sprowls, a Palm Harbor Republican, is slated to take over as House Speaker after the November elections, replacing Speaker José Oliva, a Republican from Miami Lakes. Oliva, whose wealth was built on a family cigar business, reported that he is exiting office with a $14.8 million net worth, down from $15.2 million in a report filed last year.

Sprowls, a lawyer, posted a net worth of $377,438 as of May 12, up from $351,632 in a report filed last year.

In the Senate, Trilby Republican Wilton Simpson is set to take over the helm in November as President Bill Galvano, a Bradenton Republican, leaves office.

Galvano, a lawyer, reported a net worth of $2.64 million. Simpson’s report put his net worth at nearly $33.4 million, up from $25.9 million in a report filed last year.

Since first being elected to the Senate in 2012, Simpson’s stake in Simpson Farms, an egg farm in Trilby, has increased in value from $8.78 million to $16.2 million.


Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.

Jim Turner

Jim Turner is a Capitol reporter for the News Service of Florida, providing coverage on issues ranging from transportation and the environment to Legislative and Cabinet politics, which are some of the areas he worked in 20 years with TCPalm in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast. Jim grew up in Millburn, New Jersey, where he started his journalism career providing weekly reports on the high school soccer team --- of which he was a member--- to the local Millburn Item. Jim received degrees in journalism and history from High Point University in North Carolina.


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