Politics & Government

Florida GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott was sued for insider trading

Rick Scott wants to be governor of a state that once sued him for insider trading.

In 1997, as the FBI unleashed a massive criminal investigation of Scott's hospital chain, Florida's State Board of Administration filed a civil lawsuit accusing Scott and his fellow hospital directors of profiting from a culture of corruption and selling stock 23 days before federal agents raided the company's offices in Texas.

Ultimately, the insider trading complaint was dismissed by a judge without trial, but not before an appeals court said that there was a chance that Scott should have known "of the arrangements that allegedly violated health care laws and regulations.''

The Florida civil suit, which was separate from the federal investigation of Columbia/HCA that led to $1.7 billion in fines, was filed in Tennessee state court. But it was shelved in favor of a larger federal case that leveled many of the same claims as the Florida state suit. The list of defendants in the federal case also included Scott, who had been forced out as the company's CEO on July 25, 1997, about two weeks before the civil actions were filed.

The suit was settled six years later for about $14 million. Scott was never criminally charged.

The old lawsuits, which the Herald/Times obtained Thursday as part of a state public records request, add another detail to the governor's race between Scott, a Republican, and Florida's Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a Democrat.

To read the complete article, visit www.miamiherald.com.