Tags: US | SC | Governor | Other | Woman

Security for SC Gov Rendezvous Costs Fla. $1,200

Friday, 14 May 2010 05:10 PM

 

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Florida spent about $1,200 to provide security for South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford when he visited to be with his Argentine lover, records show.

The recently divorced governor spent several days in South Florida over Mother's Day weekend to see if he could rekindle his relationship with Maria Belen Chapur.

Information obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request from the Department of Law Enforcement shows Florida state agents provided security for Sanford from May 7 through May 11, with the exception of Mothers' Day.

The department's cost analysis showed it protected Sanford for a total of 34 hours at a rate of $24.43 an hour in addition to $25.81 in travel costs.

The department has a reciprocal agreement with other states and will not be reimbursed by South Carolina for Sanford's dalliance. Officials did not explain why Sanford was not protected on Mother's Day, which was May 9.

Department spokeswoman Heather Smith said security is provided for visiting governors regardless of the nature of the trip.

It's a policy that doesn't sit well with state Sen. Victor Crist, a Tampa Republican.

"For a governor to come to Florida to go on a fishing trip or have a romantic weekend really should not be a responsibility for Florida, not at taxpayer expense, to provide security," he said.

Sanford's safety became an issue when he disappeared for five days last summer after he slipped his security detail and left no word on where he had gone. That raised questions about who was in charge of the state.

He returned to confess he was in Argentina visiting Chapur. He had told his staff he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.

The Florida-born governor divorced earlier this year.

His spokesman, Ben Fox, said Friday that he would not discuss details of the governor's security arrangements.

——

Associated Press Writer Jim Davenport in Columbia, S.C., contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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