Florida officials refuse to release financial records of Matt Gaetz associate who accompanied him on Bahamas trip
Florida officials are refusing to release the spending records of a Matt Gaetz associate who traveled with him to the Bahamas in September 2018 — a trip that's at the center of an investigation into whether the Republican congressman sex-trafficked a minor.
Orlando's CBS affiliate reports that it filed a public records request nearly three months ago, seeking financial documents related to Halsey Beshears, former secretary of Florida's Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
"Such financial documents are considered public records under Florida law and must be made available to any citizen who requests to see them," the station reported. "Florida law does not specify how quickly government officials must produce such public records, but state agencies are required to 'respond to such requests in good faith,' according to Florida's Government in the Sunshine Manual. After acknowledging the records request from News 6 for the former secretary's financial records on April 15, the agency has failed to respond to nine email messages from News 6 seeking information about when the records will be released, including the most recent sent July 7."
Beshears, who served in the state Legislature with Gaetz until 2016, resigned as secretary of DBPR in January, citing health problems after he contracted COVID. He was appointed to the position by Gov. Ron DeSantis in January 2019.
Politico reported in April that Beshears had "confided to two friends recently that he believes he's the subject of the investigation" into Gaetz. Beshears was also reportedly included on a grand jury list in the case.
At the time of the 2018 Bahamas trip, Gaetz was a top adviser to DeSantis, who was running for governor, and would go on to manage his transition team.
In addition to Gaetz and Beshears, the Bahamas trip included at least five young women, as well as Jason Pirozzolo, a Republican fundraiser for DeSantis. According to CBS News, sources said Pirozzolo "allegedly paid for the travel expenses, accommodations, and female escorts."
One of the women on the trip was a teenager with whom Gaetz is accused of having sex, Politico reported. While one of the other women claimed the teenager had turned 18 months before, "questions surrounding the ages of some of the women surfaced immediately upon their return — three of them looked so young when they returned on Beshears' private plane that U.S. Customs briefly stopped and questioned him, according to sources familiar with the trip, including a woman on the flight."
Gaetz's wingman Joel Greenberg, who recently pleaded guilty to six federal charges including sex trafficking of a child, reportedly was not invited on the trip due to a conflict with Pirozzolo's girlfriend.
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