Last Call for 11.4.21 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

Attorney General Ashley Moody is taking action to claw back more than $7 million for consumers ripped off by a travel booking website.

Panama City Beach-based BookIt Operating acted as an online third-party intermediary for airlines, car rentals and hotels. It offered discounted, often nonrefundable, travel packages ranging in price from less than $100 to more than $10,000.

But the company allegedly failed to disclose to consumers that it did not have the money to pay for current bookings unless new bookings were made.

The practice resulted in thousands of consumers in Florida and nationwide receiving neither a trip nor a refund.

After an investigation, Moody’s office filed a lawsuit and a proposed consent judgment to see some of those consumers get their money back. The proposed judgment — agreed to by BookIt Operating — would require the company to return $445,000 in travel deposits to certain consumers related to the Florida Attorney General’s investigation.

Additionally, the company reports more than $6.7 million in relief provided after Moody launched the investigation, bringing the total to more than $7 million for Floridians and other consumers who filed complaints.

“Throughout the pandemic, we worked closely with Floridians to ensure they were not being taken advantage of, and through that process, we heard from consumers nationwide about thwarted travel plans and other issues they were experiencing with BookIt,” Moody said. “I am pleased that our involvement in this matter has resulted in millions of dollars in relief for those affected.”

The proposed consent judgment must receive court approval. If it does, BookIt must fork over an additional $448,000 within 14 days. The judgment also includes significant injunctive relief to prevent BookIt from engaging in similar practices in the future.

Evening Reads

Federal vaccine rule for private businesses to kick in on Jan. 4” via Laura Olson of the Florida Phoenix

‘This rule is absolutely going down:’ Gov. Ron DeSantis rebukes vaccine mandate” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics

What Democrats need to realize before 2022” via Ronald Brownstein of The Atlantic

Republicans are winning elections because they won’t stop talking about this” via Tory Gavito and Adam Jentleson for The New York Times

Florida’s Hard Rock Sportsbook braces for Friday legal showdown” via John Haughey of The Center Square

Tina Polsky, Yvonne Hinson seek to undo GOP-backed ‘viewpoint diversity’ law in higher ed” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

We work for the people of Florida. That’s why we can’t let the University of Florida silence us on a voting rights law.” via Sharon Austin, Michael McDonald and Daniel Smith for The Washington Post

Seller’s regret? Pandemic led to spike in home prices, including one sold by Ron DeSantis” via Elise Elder of Fresh Take Florida

Florida nursing homes, VA facilities, get 3-month, $104 million bump to cover increased nursing costs” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics

Lawmakers approve $643M for Regeneron alternative in COVID-19 fight” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics

‘Six million smackeroos’: DeSantis brings road funds to Jax’s Cecil Airport” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Did critical race theory really swing the Virginia election?” via Zack Beauchamp of Vox

Florida’s awful Bert Harris Act is for the birds” via Craig Pittman of the Florida Phoenix

Quote of the Day

“I think this rule is absolutely going down.” — Gov. Ron DeSantis, on the federal vaccine mandate for employers.

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