A change on Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried’s financial disclosures shows she earned far more as a marijuana consultant than previously reported.
Fried also amended 2017 disclosures with the Division of Elections to show she made $165,671 in consulting fees, not just $84,000 as previously disclosed.
Fried in 2018 won election as Agriculture Commissioner and took office in early 2019, so the income dates back to when she worked as a lobbyist for the medical marijuana industry.
That income is substantially more than Fried disclosed in 2020 when she revealed through another amendment she had earned $72,000 from the firm, noted Tallahassee Reports, which first reported the latest change.
Fried’s office provided a statement to the Miami Herald suggesting the amendments came now because an oversight only recently came to light.
““When filing the form in 2018, Commissioner Fried provided her attorney with her salary for the 2018 calendar year, roughly six months of income,” said Max Flugrath, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “We realized 2017 gross income, including all her business’ income and reimbursements, should have been reported, not just her salary.
“When we were made aware of the filing error, we amended the forms to provide full transparency.”
The amendment filed in 2020 to her 2018 income also made clear Fried was president and owned 100% of the company. That change in the disclosure came after Fried failed to report any income at all from the business in her initial filing.
Fried founded Igniting Florida in 2016 and became one of the chief voices in Tallahassee’s lobbying corps on the medical marijuana industry. In that capacity, she helped craft legislation allowing the industry to launch in the state.
The firm included in its clients San Felasco Nurseries, which was purchased by Harvest Health & Recreation for $65.7 million in cash and stock, Young America Capital announced in December 2018.
In Fried’s 2019 financial disclosures, she lists Ignite Holdings in her assets, valued at $190,260, and lists Harvest Health & Recreation under that.
The latest change to Fried’s forms was filed as she prepared to launch a new statewide campaign. She announced Tuesday she’s challenging Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022. She faces U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, a St. Petersburg Democrat and former Republican Governor, in the Democratic Primary.
In launching her bid for Governor, Fried won’t seek a second term as Agriculture Commissioner. Fried is the only Democrat holding statewide elected office in Florida.