After getting blasted by the state Democratic Party, Gov. Rick Scott has cancelled a fundraiser co-hosted by Jim Batmasian, a Boca Raton real estate magnate who served time for withholding tax evasion.
The $10,000-a-person event was to be Saturday at Batmasian’s home, according to Mother Jones, which apparently first reported it.
Batmasian, an active donor to the Republican Party and candidates including Mitt Romney in 2012, pleaded guilty in 2008 to a felony charge of failing to collect and pay $253,513 in withholding taxes for the employees of his investment firm, according to a Florida Sun-Sentinel report.
Mother Jones said Batmasian served eight months in a federal prison and two years of supervised release, paid a $30,000 fine and surrendered his license to practice law.
In an email blast this afternoon, the Democratic Party, noting that Scott’s former hospital chain ownership firm, Columbia/HCA, paid the largest fine then on record for Medicare fraud in 2000, ridiculed the event.
“Two famous Florida fraudsters will link arms to collect campaign cash,” said Democratic Party spokesman Joshua Karp, adding that Batmasian, “unlike Rick Scott, couldn’t dodge a felony and served time federal prison.”
Asked for a response earlier this afternoon, Scott campaign spokesman Greg Blair initially said one would come from Republican Party spokeswoman Susan Hepworth.
But a few minutes ago, Blair sent out a statement saying the event has been cancelled, and then repeating some unrelated Scott campaign criticism of Crist:
“This event has been cancelled. All the name calling and mudslinging in the world can’t hide Charlie Crist’s record of failure or the fact that he is too scared to debate his primary opponent.”