Veterans demand Gov. Rick Scott return donation of man who swindled troops and veterans

 ·  VoteVets.org, Press Release   ·   Link to Article

Tampa, Fla. – The Florida Chair of the national veterans’ group, VoteVets.org, with over 360,000 supporters, today is issuing the following statement in response to news accounts that one of Governor Scott’s largest contributors has been assessed a massive fine by the FTC. These fines resulted from misrepresentations made to members and veterans of the US Military by a St. Petersburg mortgage company run by Bill Edwards, Governor Scott’s largest individual contributor outside of family members.  

“Recent news reports indicate that Mortgage Investors, a company run by Mr. Bill Edwards, may have attempted to defraud veterans,” said Pablo Pantoja, an Iraq War Veteran and Florida State Chair of VoteVets.org.  “In fact, Edwards' company recently received a $7.5 million fine.  Mr. Edwards is Governor Scott's single largest individual donor, outside of Scott's own family.  Surely Governor Scott will not willingly retain political contributions--totaling a half-million dollars--derived from funds that may have been the fruit of misrepresentations to veterans.  VoteVets.org calls on Governor Scott to return any and all political contributions made to his campaign committees by Mr. Edwards and his affiliated entities.  He should return these tainted contributions immediately.  Quite simply our veterans deserve better.” 

Recently, the FTC fined Mortgage Investors, run by Mr. Bill Edwards, $7.5 million for violations under its jurisdiction. Contribution records indicate that Mr. Edwards is Governor Scott's largest individual political contributor outside his family.

According to new accounts, telemarketers working for Mr. Edwards allegedly led service members and veterans to believe they could receive low-interest, fixed-rate mortgages. 

Instead, regulators found that the company was only offering adjustable rate mortgages which left consumers liable for higher payments with rising interest rates. It also required consumers to pay closing costs.

Perhaps most troubling is that Mr. Edwards, Mr. Scott's single largest individual political contributor outside of family members, claims to have written the telemarketing pitches to service members, personally.

According to a Tampa Bay Times profile on Mr. Edwards:

He calls the script he personally wrote for telemarketers "the book." They are not to veer from it. It's based on sales principles he has culled from 20 years along with "understanding, firsthand, veterans, how they think, speak, analyze and relate to people."

Background Links:

Bill Edwards' Mortgage Investors Corp. hit with record FTC fine

http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/banking/bill-edwards-mortgage-investors-corp-hit-with-record-ftc-fine/2129084

Financier and philanthropist Bill Edwards amps up entertainment empire

http://www.tampabay.com/features/humaninterest/financier-and-philanthropist-bill-edwards-amps-up-entertainment-empire/1163468

“Edwards, a Treasure Island businessman and entertainment mogul who operates St. Petersburg's Mahaffey Theater, recently wrote Scott's campaign its largest single check, for $500,000. That's nearly as much as the $600,000 Edwards paid last year to erect a vertical gateway sign on Interstate 275 in St. Petersburg.” 

http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/gubernatorial/rick-scott-already-has-raised-98-million-for-2014-re-election/2112888

Founded in 2006,  and backed by over 360,000 supporters, the mission of VoteVets.org is to use public issue campaigns and direct outreach to lawmakers to ensure that troops abroad have what they need to complete their missions, and receive the care they deserve when they get home.  VoteVets.org also recognizes veterans as a vital part of the fabric of our country and will work to protect veterans' interests in their day-to-day lives.   VoteVets.org is committed to the destruction of terror networks around the world - with force when necessary - to protect America.  While non-partisan, the group is the largest progressive organization of veterans in America.

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