DeSantis posts increase in net worth

Local News
Ron DeSantis

FILE – In this April 30, 2021, file photo surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) — Gov. Ron DeSantis’ net worth grew nearly 20 percent in his second year as the state’s top executive.

With his only listed income a taxpayer-funded salary of $134,181, DeSantis reported a net worth of $348,832 as of Dec. 31, 2020, up from $291,449 at the end of 2019, according to a financial disclosure posted Monday on the Florida Commission on Ethics website.

State elected officials face a loose July 1 deadline to file annual disclosure reports, which typically detail their finances as of the end of the prior year. Late filers have until September to submit reports before they face fines — $25 a day, with a cap at $1,500.

The forms require disclosure of an estimated net worth, assets valued at more than $1,000, liabilities of more than $1,000 and information about income.

In addition to his salary in 2020, DeSantis listed assets of $235,000 in a USAA account; $105,755 in a government thrift savings plan, a type of retirement savings and investment plan; and $30,302 in the Florida Retirement System.

The USAA account grew by $29,500 from the previous year, while the money in the state retirement system was up a little more than $16,000 and the former congressman’s thrift savings plan grew by $7,985.

DeSantis also paid down a Sallie Mae student loan by $3,605 during 2020, with a remaining balance of $22,225 as of Dec. 31.

DeSantis, who lives in the governor’s mansion and listed no real-estate holdings, sold his Ponte Vedra Beach home in March 2019 for $460,000, according to St. Johns County property records. 

When he ran for office in 2018, DeSantis posted a net worth of $283,605.

Forms for 2020 had not been filed as of Monday morning by Attorney General Ashley Moody, state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez, House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, and Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby.

Fried, however, has recently drawn criticism for amending earlier disclosure forms, posting previously unreported income she earned as a marijuana lobbyist before being elected to office.

In May, Fried revised her form for 2019, submitted to the Commission on Ethics, to indicate $351,480 in income from Igniting Florida, LLC in 2018, up from $72,000 in a previous report. She also amended a financial disclosure submitted to the state Division of Elections, increasing her 2017 income from Igniting Florida from $84,000 to $165,761.

Those were not the first times Fried made an amendment.

In January 2020, Fried reported the $72,000 in Igniting Florida income in 2018. That wasn’t in her initial disclosure filed in 2019.

The changes didn’t alter her reported net worth, which as of June 28, 2019, stood at $1.4 million and on Dec. 31, 2019 was up to $1.448 million.

In a statement this month, Fried spokesman Max Flugrath said all her assets had been disclosed.

“When filing the form in 2018, Commissioner Fried provided her attorney with her salary for the 2018 calendar year, roughly six months of income,” Flugrath stated. “We realized 2017 gross income, including all her business’ income and reimbursements, should have been reported, not just her salary.”

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