Rick Scott Shouldn't Choose Adam Hollingsworth as Lieutenant Governor

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: December 7, 2013 3:55 AM
Rick Scott and Adam Hollingsworth

Rick Scott and Adam Hollingsworth

Almost nine months after Jennifer Carroll resigned, the latest name being floated as Rick Scott’s lieutenant governor is his own chief of staff Adam Hollingsworth.

Buzz started building that Hollingsworth could be in line for a promotion at the end of November. It grew louder when Saint PetersBlog started kicking Hollingsworth’s name around. And Friday speculation grew louder still when Scott refused to deny Hollingsworth was being considered.

That, however, was before the Times/Herald revelation later in the day that Hollingsworth lied about earning a college degree on his resume with a former employer.

"For many years, I publicly stated that I was a graduate of the University of Alabama; however, I did not complete my degree until 2009,'' Scott's top aide said in a written statement given to the Times/Herald. "I am not proud of this and I deeply apologize for this misrepresentation. I have learned from this failure in judgment and know that, over the last several years, my life and character have and will continue to grow from this."

This latest bombshell aside, Hollingsworth is certainly qualified for the post on paper. Besides his current post, he worked as chief of staff for John Peyton when he was mayor of Jacksonville. Hollingsworth has also worked in the private sector and for a few Jacksonville Democrats, including Ed Austin, Charlie Bennett and Corrine Brown. If Scott is looking for a lieutenant governor to lobby the Legislature, Hollingsworth makes sense.

But politically he does nothing for the governor, who is down in the polls against Charlie Crist. If Rick Scott needs help in Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, he may as well run up the white flag now. Scott came into office as a political outsider, a sharp contrast to Bill McCollum and Alex Sink. Hollingsworth, on the other hand, is an insider’s insider with no experience on the campaign trail. As qualified as he might be for the office, Hollingsworth does almost nothing for Scott’s 2014 chances.

There’s a temptation to compare Hollingsworth to George LeMieux and Dick Cheney. After serving as Crist’s chief of staff when that governor was still a Republican, LeMieux ended up in a pivotal role in leading the search for a replacement for Mel Martinez after he resigned from the U.S. Senate. LeMieux eventually became Martinez’s replacement. While he did not run in 2010, LeMieux did try to capture the Republican nomination to challenge Bill Nelson and return to the Senate in 2012. LeMieux showed a knack for going on the attack but he made little headway against Connie Mack and bowed out before the primary. Despite all his years working in politics, LeMieux had never run for a major office before and it showed.

Cheney, of course, was in charge of selecting George W. Bush’s vice president in 2000 and ended up as his running mate. But Cheney made sense for Bush despite hailing from Wyoming, which is not exactly a politically significant state in presidential elections. Cheney had been a leading member of Congress, chief of staff under Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush’s defense secretary during the first Gulf War. With Americans concerned about George W. Bush’s experience, Cheney certainly made sense as his running mate. He was a tested politico with decades of experience.

If Scott names him as lieutenant governor, Hollingsworth would fit more into the LeMieux mode than the Cheney one. Regardless of his qualifications, Hollingsworth simply would not help Scott come November. Democrats would have a field day, as they would insist no major Republican politician would want to be associated with Scott. Crist and the Democrats could also hit Scott for twiddling his thumbs for nine months, only to choose a close aide as lieutenant governor.

Although nobody votes for gubernatorial candidates based on their running mates, they most certainly vote against them if the running mate is flawed. Hollingsworth's admission of falsifying his resume is likely to end his chances of fulfilling Saint PetersBlog's prophesy, and could even end his job. Scott has shown little tolerance for even a hint of an ethics breach among any member of his top staff.

Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis piece exclusively for Sunshine State News.

Comments (11)

Shaunel Thomas
11:18AM DEC 26TH 2013
Rick Scott didn't get the memo. Why not? Hollingsworth, the master of shuffling documents like a shell game kept the information from the governor. Hollingsworth is a proven liar but he does a very expert job at running the governor. Anybody who's seen Rick Scott's motorcade going down the Turnpike knows that somebody planned every step to a
"T" and this is of course the devious Hollingsworth. The real news is leaking out about Hollingsworth's debauchery and it is only a matter of time before the very insulated and controlled governor Scott picks up a newspaper and reads it of his own accord and sees how his own Chief of Staff has been manipulating him. Being a governor is a different sort of art from running a huge healthcare company and Scott has had numerous bumps in the road during his tenure including the hiring and firing of various Chiefs of Staff. Hollingsworth will not be the first one to go but go he must. He is dragging Rick Scott down on a daily basis as Hollingsworth's deceptions are coming to light. All in all, Scott can run
on his own record which is decent and win. With dead-weight guys like Hollingsworth (that make up their own college credentials) on board, Scott is a dead duck. The last thing Florida needs is a return to power of chain-gang Charlie Crist who's only claim to fame as governor was to heap oppressive penalties on African-Americans and other minorities in an effort to curry-favor the white vote in Florida.
6:47PM DEC 9TH 2013
Great, you lie on your resume and you get a job. If everyone that is unemployed could be so lucky. I guess the voters will just have to make sure that both Scott and Hollingsworth are out of a job in the next election.
6:40AM DEC 8TH 2013
why do we even need a lt gov. ? i suppose to help campaign for scott with public money.
5:14PM DEC 7TH 2013
I see nothing wrong with one liar working for another liar......
Paul Revere
12:13PM DEC 7TH 2013
This lying piece of trash should be fired immediately and prosecuted for lying under oath for a taxpayer funded job

It's hard for Scott's credibility to go down but we all may be surprised to see it drop below zero.

Fire this b_ _ _ _ _ d today!
Independent Thinker
10:52AM DEC 7TH 2013
And to think Scott and his bunch are making a fuss over Crist's campaign manager leaving because he likes living in NYC, he says.

When Scott can't even find someone who wants to be his Lt. Governor, or doesn't have skeletons pouring out of his closet -- they're the ones who need to put their house in order first.
fraud and deceit in public service
10:31AM DEC 7TH 2013
No person who lies about anything should ever be afforded a position of public service, ever!

How can you tell when a liar is lying or possible telling the truth? You Can't.

Once a liar always a liar. It's akin to being pregnant, you can't be a little bit pregnant - you either are or you are not!

Hollingsworth was a grown man when he concocted his lies and not a child. He knew or should have known there would be consequences for his deceit. Now is the time to bring forth those consequences.

And "PS" to PS don't kid yourself about Rick Scott "doesn't have a broad network of advisors." he has the same connections to Jeb Bush and his advisors as Jeb Bush has. Richard (Rick) Lynn Scott was the Bush family oil lawyer in Dallas, Tx when he was with Johnson and Swanson. Rick Scott and Tom Hicks were partners with George W. Bush in the Texas Rangers. Don't take the Chicago style bait that these dudes don't know each other like Rod Blagovich and Barack Obama tried to do in Chicago!
9:54AM DEC 7TH 2013
Hollingsworth's relationship with Scott does not appear to be in doubt, but that doesn't mean Hollingsworth doesn't have some explaining to do.

First of all, Hollingsworth denies that his academic fraud contributed to his departure from CSX a decade ago. If this is true, what did CSX know and when did they know it?

It's important to get an answer on this question because the follow-up inquiry is, if CSX was aware of Hollingsworth's fraud, did CSX use it as leverage to pressure Hollingsworth into favorable deals or decisions from the Governor's office?

Remember, the Florida Department of Transportation paid $173 million for 61 miles of CSX tracks that will be used by SunRail. The railroad says it will invest $500 million into Florida rail infrastructure – partly to reroute traffic in the Orlando area and build a new yard in Winter Haven.

Although Scott rejected high-speed rail, he supported SunRail.

Scott had the power to kill off Sunrail, and many advisors advocated for him to cut off funding to the project, but someone convinced him to move forward on it.

Hollingsworth is the chief of staff for a governor almost entirely dependent on him. Rick Scott is not Jeb Bush or Charlie Crist. He doesn't have a broad network of advisors. Being chief of staff to Rick Scott is arguably the fourth most important position in state government.

That is why Hollingsworth owes the people of Florida a full and complete accounting of what he told CSX, and when they first learned of the issue.

Since first investigating this issue with Hollingsworth almost a month ago, I have learned of rumors of a severance package that requires both CSX and Hollingsworth to remain silent regarding the terms of his departure from the company. If there is such a severance, ethics would require that Hollingsworth disclose the details of an agreement to avoid the appearance that CSX has leverage over him.

Hollingsworth must answer if he had/has a severance agreement with CSX or not? If so, what are the terms of the agreement?

Keep in mind, the Department of Transportation has had extensive dealings with CSX, both when Hollingsworth was a member of the Governor's transition team, and now that he is chief of staff. In light of Friday's revelations, its necessary to ask: what steps has Hollingsworth taken to recuse himself from DOT dealings with CSX?

Lying about your academic pedigree to a previous employer is likely not enough to drive Hollingsworth from the CoS job, but only if he and CSX offer a full accounting of who knew what and when.
Don't You Just love it
9:49AM DEC 7TH 2013
Republican Conscience you would love for the idiots of Florida to believe you but they know better. Remember it was GHW Bush and his friends that brought about the Franklin Scandal of pedophile connections. One spin off The Green isle Ranch in Lake County Florida run by one Gary Borders for 20 plus years the scene of dozens of rapes of the boys covered up for years by Borders who was rewarded for his services to the machine by Jeb Bush anointing him sheriff of Lake County.

Rick Scott tried to appoint Seminole Sheriff Don Eslinger LG but he refused it. Why don't Rick Scott offer the job to Lake Sheriff Gary Borders? Rumor has it CharLIE Crist might offer (look a like white hair) 53 year old Borders the job as his LG - at least they share the alternative lifestyle as well as lying about it.

And "william" yes Hollingworth is a liar about his education. But, he still has a way to go to catch up with Lake Tax Collector Bob McKee who lied about everything from his Navy service, his HS Diploma and several college degree's he made them all up the old fashioned way ON A COPY MACHINE. At least FOUR dates of birth on 9th Circuit State Attorney and Orange Co Sheriff's applications and three different dates of birth on Florida Department of Education applications.

So, Rick Scott why don't you chose Lake Tax Collector Bob McKee as your LG? He's already running the cornerstone Hospice and adept at robbing Medicare just like you are and an expert at lying just like you are; heck you two would make a perfect team

Rick Scott and Bob McKee two professional expert liars for governor and lieutenant governor of Florida. don't you just love it when a plan comes together!
9:14AM DEC 7TH 2013
No one wants the LG job. Might as well give it to the Liar.
8:34AM DEC 7TH 2013
Whoever Rick Scott appoints, he had better do his due diligence to make sure there are no skeletons in the closets, scandals under the carpet, etc. If you are a Democrat, you can appoint serial killers who rape school children without consequences, but being a Republican you need to be perfect.

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