Mike Deeson of WTSP-Ch. 10 in Tampa Bay this week scorched State Rep. Jamie Grant, R-Tampa, over a $2.6-million economic development grant his company received from Hardee County. Thestate’s auditor general found a host of problems with the grant to LifeSync Technologies, which Grant started in 2011 – 18 days after applying for the grant – and ran with a couple Tampa Bay Republican political consultants, Jennifer Lux and Jordan Raynor.
The TV report casts the grant process as rife with conflicts of interest. From WTSP: …”Tampa State Rep. Jamie Grant’s company, “LifeSync Technologies,” pitched a bold plan to county officials: give them the $2.6 million, and LifeSync would create a cloud-based medical records firm and bring jobs to Hardee County. Public records indicate Grant had powerful allies, including State Representative Jason Broduer from Orlando, State Representative Ben Albritton of Hardee County, and his brother, Hardee County insurance agency owner Joe Albritton.
Grant told 10 News he wasn’t interested in an interview after we tracked him down in Tallahassee, after he avoided us for weeks in Tampa.
“Your facts are off there, Mike,” Grant told us. “And you need to check your facts.”
He added that Joe Albritton has no equity in his company. But when we double checked, we found Albritton, who was on the board that gave Grant the money, abstained from voting on the issue involving Grant’s company because he is “part owner.”…”
Grant told Buzz he’s reviewing his options about what to do next. Does that mean legal action against the Gannett Company? It’s too premature, Grant said. Is he demanding a correction? Not yet, Grant said.
The segment opens with Deeson sitting at a picnic table with a 55-year-old unemployed woman. The woman, “We’ll call her Theresa,” Deeson states on the newscast, isn’t identified and has her face blurred out. “She’s so embarrassed about being out of work that she asked us not to show her face.”
The woman could have been hired as part of a $2.6 million economic development grant the Hardee County was handing out.