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Monday, Dec 22, 2014

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Tallahassee judge sets hearing in blind trusts case


Published:

A Tallahassee judge has set an initial hearing for next Wednesday in a case involving politicians’ use of blind trusts, according to court dockets reviewed Friday.

The case – originally filed in the Florida Supreme Court – was transferred by the justices to Tallahassee circuit court and assigned to Circuit Judge John C. Cooper.

Cooper scheduled a “case management conference” for 11 a.m. on May 28 in courtroom 3D, dockets show.

Jim Apthorp, a former top aide to the late Gov. Reubin Askew, is challenging a 2013 state law allowing use of the trusts, which shield their beneficiaries from knowing where money is coming from to avoid conflicts of interest.

Apthorp says they violate the Sunshine Amendment, approved by voters in 1976, that calls for elected officials and candidates to “file full and public disclosure of their financial interests.”

Gov. Rick Scott, running for re-election, is the only statewide official who has a blind trust.

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