The Donald not pleased with Rick Scott
By Dara Kam
“Wow, looks like @FLGovScott wants to hand over the State of Florida to the Seminole Indians w/ the terrible gaming deal in talks! #sayfie,” Trump tweeted to his 2.6 million followers at 9:16 a.m.
“Thought @FLGovScott was a better negotiator—the Seminole Indian gaming deal is a disaster for Florida. #sayfie,” the Donald went on.
Trump’s caustic comments are, um, a bit awkward for lobbyist Brian Ballard, who represents Trump and is heavily involved in Scott’s re-election effort. Trump is one of several out-of-state operators trying to convince lawmakers to open up the state to (non-tribal) casinos.
Scott is renegotiating a portion of a current gambling compact, signed by then-Gov. Charlie Crist in 2010, that gave the Seminoles “exclusive” rights to blackjack at seven of its Florida locations in exchange for a minimum of $1 billion over five years. That part of the 2010 deal expires on Aug. 1, 2015. The Seminoles have so far exceeded their minimum payments to the state.
But Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera’s shuttle diplomacy in the penultimate week of the legislative session that ended on Friday helped blow up a possible agreement with the tribe.
Lopez-Cantera, along with Scott’s general counsel Pete Antonacci and COS Adam Hollingsworth, had floated the idea of a special session in mid-May so lawmakers could sign off on the compact.
But gambling lobbyists and many lawmakers viewed the deal as too friendly to the tribe. Scott had considered allowing the Seminoles to open more casinos — including one on a 50-acre property owned by the tribe in Fort Pierce — and add roulette and craps to some of their existing facilities. The tribe also could have expanded its Broward County operations as well as its facility in Brighton. The price tag? A guarantee of $2.5 billion over seven years, which is higher than the Seminoles’ current $250 million minimum annual obligation.
Word on the street now is that Scott’s given up on sealing a deal with the tribe until after the November election.