December 13, 2008

Charlie Crist & Carole Rome Euro Junket $430,000

After Charlie Crist succeeded Jeb Bush as Florida Governor, there was some idle chatter about his being single, given his obvious Presidential ambitions, so apparently Crist went shopping for a ’suitable’ consort, and found one in New York - a wealthy 39 year old socialite named Carole Rome, whose family owns the Franco-American Novelty Company, which imports Halloween costumes. They dated for a year before announcing an engagement in July, just in time for Crist to become even more eligible to be a possible Republican VP nominee.

Now the couple just got married at First United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg (Fla.) on Friday, Dec 12 2008. This is the second marriage for both of them. So far so good. Live happily ever after and all that. Or maybe not. Because now comes the scandal. Apparently, Crist went on a 12 day trade trip to Europe in July, accompanied by over two dozen people in his personal entourage, along with some 65 business executives, which cost the tax-payer about $430,000.

And Carole Rome and her sister Michele Oumano were also part of the Euro Junket arranged by Enterprise Florida, which took Crist and his entourage to London, Paris, Madrid and St. Petersburg (Russia). Worse yet, the trip was supposed to cost $255,000, but somehow ended up exceeding the budget by $175,000. Even worse yet, Crist’s expenses ($30,000) were paid for by the business execs who were part of the entourage. Meaning that inspite of spending $430,000 of tax payer funds, the Governor ended up beholden to big donors.

Fl Governor Charlie Crist and Carol Rome with His Royal Highness, Charles Philip Arthur George, The Prince of Wales.

The Governor’s London hotel stay in the Presidential Suite at the Hilton London Metropole, near Hyde Park, cost $2,179 per night, room service and minibar charges exceeded $1,300, with round trip first class airfare costing $8, 000. And to add the icing on the junket cake, Crist’s bodyguards (9 of them… ???) spent $148,000 on meals, hotels, transportation and incidentals, including nearly $630 in dry cleaning.

Governor Charlie Crist at the Normandy American CemeteryCrist traveled in style on a high-speed Eurostar train from London to Paris, shelling out $457 for executive and lounge priviliges. In France, Crist was put up in a $1,385 suite at The Westin Paris which overlooked the Tuileries garden and Louvre museum, and the bedroom had a view of the Eiffel Tower.

From Paris, the entourage was flown in 2 private planes to Normandy. Crist’s hotel suites in St. Petersburg and Madrid cost about $1,200 per night.

Source: Trip How

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