Barry Gilway Ready to Defend Citizens Property’s Travel Expenses

Sep 1, 2012

The following article was published in The Sunshine State News on September 1, 2012:

Barry Gilway ready to defend Citizens Property’s travel expenses

By Jim Turner


Florida Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, wants the Florida Cabinet to grill executives from the state-backed insurance provider on alleged lavish travel expenses at a time when the agency is trying to reduce coverage and increase rates.

Barry Gilway, the new president and executive director of Citizens Property Insurance Corp., responded with his own letter to the Cabinet, saying he’s all for such a discussion.

“I welcome the opportunity to appear before the Cabinet to discuss our travel policy or any other issue of concern that you or any other elected official may have regarding Citizens’ operations and expenses,” Gilway wrote late Friday to Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.

Fasano, among the most ardent legislative watchdogs of Citizens, is calling for the review after reports showed travel vouchers submitted by former interim president, Thomas Grady, for just March and April totaled $9,334.  

Grady’s costs included $941 for four nights with meals at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay and $114 for a limo ride from the Fort Myers airport to his home in Naples.

Also coming into question have been expenses related to international trips that were undertaken by officials sent to New York, Bermuda, London and Zurich as they negotiated a pair of $750 million bond placements.

The bond placements resulted in $47 million in savings.

“Citizens’ top executives and board members have been shameless in the way they lavishly spend tax dollars on travel and related expenses,” Fasano stated in the letter.

“While crying poor mouth they stay in posh hotels, eat expensive meals, and engage in international travel. While so many of their customers are struggling to cut their personal budgets so they can pay their ever-increasing premiums, Citizens’ higher-ups are living high on the hog on the public dime.”

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