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Florida senators’ personal wealth on the rise

By   /   October 8, 2013  /   4 Comments

By Marianela Toledo | Florida Watchdog

MIAMI  — Florida state senators are getting richer.

NET WORTH: Research from FloridaWatchdog.org, using financial statements filed by the lawmakers and published by the state Ethics Commission, shows lawmakers in the upper chamber increased their personal wealth on average 10.2 percent in 2012.

Research from FloridaWatchdog.org, using financial statements filed by the lawmakers and published by the state Ethics Commission, shows lawmakers in the upper chamber increased their personal wealth an average of 10.2 percent in 2012.

Democrat state Sen. Maria Sachs of Delray Beach saw her nest egg increase 149 percent during the same period, officially making her a millionaire, with $2.2 million in assets.


Palm Beach County Democrat state Sen. Joseph Abruzzo, grew his net worth by 127 percent, to a little more than $323,000. And Sen. Dwight Bullard, a Democrat from Miami, turned $25,000 into $54,000 during his first year in office..

For Democrat state Sen. Darren Soto of Orlando, the financial picture improved significantly. In 2011, Soto reported being $75,000 in debt. By 2012, that debt had been reduced to about $32,000. Soto has a bachelor’s degree in economics and attended law school at George Washington University. 

For state Sen. Audrey Gibson, a Democrat from Jacksonville, moving to the Senate from the state House seemed a reversal of fortune. She reported having only $600 in 2012, a far cry from the more than $110,000 she reported in 2010. She was elected to the state Senate in a 2011 special election and won re-election last year.

Nancy Detert, a Sarasota Republican and member of the board of directors for Enterprise Florida, lost 16.29 percent of her wealth in 2012, falling from $224,471 in 2011 to $187,900 in 2012.

According to a study by government watchdog agency IntegrityFlorida.org, last year’s median net worth of all Florida legislators — senators and representatives — increased 15 percent.

Florida Watchdog’s research was done using Florida senators’ financial statement disclosures, uploaded on the Florida Ethics Commission website. Disclosure were filed between June 2012 to September 2013. The average figure calculation represented does not include Democrat Sen. Darren Soto, who has a debt.

Contact Marianela Toledo at Marianela.Toledo@FloridaWatchdog.org twitter @mtoledoreporter



Marianela is the journalistic force behind Watchdog.org’s Spanish-language reporting. Since 2012 she has investigated fraud, waste and abuse at the State and local level of Florida government. Her writings have appeared in the Drudge Report, Fox News, Washington Times, Reason Magazine, Human Events, Florida Trend, Bizpac Review, and Telemundo 51, WUVF Univision, MiraTV, Azteca América, Diario Las Américas, Infobae, MiamiDiario, Actualidad Radio. She was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

  • smelltest

    My math says national democrat up $1.3 million, national republican up $0.46 million. PLUS BENEFITS that you don’t get! Now, taxpayer, are you getting that kind of value from your representatives?

  • keren gons

    WOW, OMG! no wonder, the states are broken! and schools are going down on everything that they are supposed to provide to the children. It’s really a shame, but what can we do? if, the authorities are the first ones into it!
    There is no democracy anymore only,political piracy disguised as democracy helping people. And now, shut down! really, what a waste!

  • cherylh43

    How can you reveal one piece of a study and expect to be considered credible? You tell me legislators increased their net worth but don’t tell me how. The implication you seem to want everyone to make is that they received this money as under the table shady deals, how convenient! You neglected to mention how many times politicians business ventures get more “traffic” because their name is now more recognizable!

    You seemed to gloss over the part where more than one legislator lost net worth due to their political career, which actually disproves the implied message of the story!

    How about next time you stop the sensationalism and report the actual facts. It seems your manipulation of the raw data would put you right at home for a position at CNN!

  • Missing information

    This article is terrible. It is missing information, where is the why or how!