BRADENTON — Florida Senator Bill Galvano is also a successful local attorney, so when one of his firm's clients, IMG Academy, secured $2.3 million last session it raised eyebrows. Galvano said he had nothing to do with securing the money, but a legislative spreadsheet uncovered by the Tampa Tribune lists Galvano as the member requesting the funds. The private sports academy is slated to receive $2.5 million in the current budget, currently being considered by lawmakers.
The Tribune reports that a budget spreadsheet compiled by Governor Scott's office lists Galvano as the legislator who requested $2.3 million last year, for “a major expansion that includes a stadium, field house, student dorms and a research facility” at the massive campus in southwest Manatee County.
Galvano told the paper that he did not lobby for the project and reportedly wrote in an email that he was "not involved in securing the funding in either budget."
The paper then referenced a May 2013 Sarasota Herald Tribune story in which Galvano was quoted as saying in reference to the fact that few local projects had been vetoed by the Governor: “I think it shows the projects we were advocating for were justifiable and need-based,” and also points to an amendment Galvano reportedly authored for one of the bill's that failed which would have made IMG eligible for state tax refunds.
The Florida Legislature is considered "part-time," as it only officially convenes for a single 60-day session each year. When out of session, many of its members work for pretigious law firms who often do business lobbying the very legislature firm partners serve on a routine basis. Lawmakers do not have to disclose such relationships regarding their vote for the state's budget, only specific legislation.
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