[UPDATE] Scott's Attorney Admits Mistake to Supreme Court

By: The News Service of Florida; Associated Press Email
By: The News Service of Florida; Associated Press Email

[UPDATE] 4-15 Noon -

Gov. Scott’s top legal counsel has told the Florida Supreme Court that he gave the court wrong information in a key instance in a case over high speed rail, the Palm Beach Post has reported. The Post reported late Thursday that General Counsel Charles Trippe wrote to Chief Justice Charles Canady to notify the court that he misrepresented what some justices appeared to think was a key fact in the argument over the governor’s rejection of federal money for high speed rail. Scott was sued by Sen. Thad Altman, R-Viera and Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, over the issue, arguing that the Legislature had made the rail a stated goal through legislation – and appropriated $130 million to spend on rail, an appropriation that the governor couldn’t simply ignore. The Supreme Court sided with the governor. Trippe told justices that $110 million of the $130 million that the Florida Legislature had approved for the project in 2009 had already been spent. That meant lawmakers didn’t have as big an argument about him preventing them from carrying out an appropriation – the remaining $20 million was, in the words of one justice, “de minimus.” But Trippe acknowledged in his letter that only $31 million has been spent. "We knew (Trippe) was wrong when he said it in court,” Altman told the Post. “But we couldn't stop him from saying it." The state money would have gone with $2.4 billion from Washington that Scott rejected to build high speed rail between Tampa and Orlando. It may be moot, even if the Supreme Court were to re-consider the issue. The federal government, as part of a budget balancing deal, is pulling back its plans to send money to the states for high speed rail. On Friday, a spokesman for Gov. Rick Scott said the error unintentional. Mr. Trippe was actually the one to bring it to the attention of the Supreme Court," Scott spokesman Lane Wright told the News Service Friday. "It was an honest mistake and it was corrected as soon as the error was discovered."

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Governor Rick Scott's attorney has told the Florida Supreme Court that he was wrong about the money already spent on the state's high-speed rail project while defending the governor's right to kill it.

Scott's general counsel, Charles Trippe, sent Chief Justice Charles Canady, a letter Thursday, acknowledging that he gave inaccurate figures during oral arguments last month. Figures supporting the governor's rejection of $2.4 billion in federal funds for the project linking Tampa with Orlando.

A suit was filed against the governor for overstepping his executive power last month, but the court ruled for Scott and the federal government withdrew money for the high speed rail project.


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