Home2024 CampaignFrom negative $555,000 to over $35 million, here's the net worth of...

From negative $555,000 to over $35 million, here’s the net worth of Brevard elected officials

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Every year in June, county-level elected officials and above in Florida must file a Form 6 – Full and Public Disclosure of Financial Interests. The form requires the official to disclose all assets, liabilities, and sources of income over $1,000 each year. It also requires the disclosure of a business if more than 5 percent is owned and clients that supply more than 10 percent of a business’s gross income. 2023 disclosures reveal that School Board Member Gene Trent reported the lowest net worth of a negative $555,000, and Senator Tom Wright was the highest reporting over $35 million. The complete list is at the end of this article.

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However, effective January 1, 2024, the requirements have been expanded to include all elected mayors and elected members of the governing body of a municipality (city/town councilmen). Previously, those local officials were required to only file a Form 1 which did not include net worth and only required disclosing assets and liabilities exceeding $10,000.

The new requirements of Florida Senate Bill 774 “Ethics Requirements for Public Officials” has caused fallout statewide from municipal elected officials who have expressed concerns of their right to privacy, and the potential costs and time required to fill out the form each year. Failing to fill out the form can lead to late fines of $25 a day up to $1,500. Form violations could result in impeachment, suspension, removal, and fines up to $20,000.

Candidates for office are also required to fill out the form in order to qualify. Incumbents in several counties that have elections periods starting in January have already resigned over the new transparency requirements. In Marion County, north of Ocala, 4 out of 5 council members turned in their resignations in the Town of McIntosh over the new requirements. Similar resignations have been reported in North Palm Beach Village, Naples, St. Pete Beach, Cedar Key, Williston, Daytona Beach Shores, Fort Myers Beach, Jacksonville Beach and the small Polk County town of Eagle Lake.

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In Brevard, no local elected officials have spoken publicly about the new requirements or stated if they plan on resigning. Some are having conversations privately though, and have yet to file for reelection. Most notably, Palm Bay Mayor Rob Medina who is coming into the last year of his first term has yet to file for reelection. He has expressed concerns over the financial disclosures to those in his inner-circle. His finances have been a sensitive issue since we reported on his recent financial concerns of bankruptcy and foreclosures when he was running for Palm Bay mayor in 2020. He even refused to take a photo with us at last year’s Mayor’s Ball fundraiser over it.

Off the record, most officials we’ve spoken to say they don’t see it as a big deal. One councilmen stated “if you want the public trust, you gotta be transparent and open, especially with some of the recent history in this county.”

Past Form 6’s are available to search for on the Florida Ethics website. We have compiled a list of the 2022 and 2023 filings of the current required officials, as well as their official salaries. The highest salary goes to the Sheriff’s Office, and the lowest are the State Rep. positions. The form also shows their other sources of income as well.

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