The Florida Republican Party spent more than $9,500 on special Disney World tours for Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp and others in the summer of 2008, according to credit card bills obtained by The Miami Herald and The St. Petersburg Times.Lieutenant governor tied to Florida GOP-paid expenses for Disney tours
The outings were part of roughly $47,000 in expenses charged that year to the American Express card held by the former executive director of the state party, Jim Rimes, and tied to Kottkamp. Handwritten notes on the bills describe the amusement park costs as "Lt. Gov. Disney trip."
Kottkamp said he went to Disney with donors and their families. But party spokeswoman Katie Betta said Tuesday that the Disney charges were not associated with a fundraiser nor other official party business.
The party is undergoing an audit to uncover any wrongdoing by high-ranking legislators and staff who used the credit cards under former chairman Jim Greer.
"This is an example of the type of expense our forensic investigators are looking into to determine if additional documentation does exist that would confirm that the Disney expenses were in fact related to RPOF business," Betta said in an e-mail.
Following months of newspaper reports about cardholders using party money to cover personal expenses, the Florida GOP is expected to release its American Express bills under Greer this week. State and federal investigators are also looking into party finances.
Disney offers tours in which an employee escorts up to 10 guests for between $175 and $315 an hour, depending on the time of year and the type of amusement park. The tours bypass most lines and ensure reserved seats at shows and parades.
Betta said she had no record of who went to Disney with Kottkamp in conjunction with the party's May 12 meeting and June 12 "victory dinner" in Orlando. The tours were charged on May 8, 9, 10 and 11 and on June 14 and 15. An additional $151 was spent at Universal Studios' online ticket store May 9, and $48.54 at Cinderella's Royal Table restaurant on June 13.
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