Don Gaetz

Behind Florida's payments to victims, links to lobbyists

When Florida lawmakers began clearing a backlog of payments to victims and families harmed by government actions, their explanation for the dramatic shift was that it was their duty to abide by court rulings for the injured.

What wasn't said was that, of the $37.5 million in claims bills approved over the past two years, $16.9 million — nearly half — was awarded to victims represented by a lobbyist who is the brother of Florida's outgoing Republican House speaker, Richard Corcoran.

Of the roughly 100 bills filed in the House and Senate during the 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions, 21 were approved — and eight of those 21 were represented by Michael Corcoran's firm,...