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Thursday, April 18, 2024
FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks after being sworn in to begin his second term during an inauguration ceremony outside the Old Capitol on Jan. 3, 2023, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks after being sworn in to begin his second term during an inauguration ceremony outside the Old Capitol on Jan. 3, 2023, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

UF Board of Trustees Chair Morteza “Mori” Hosseini supplied Gov. Ron DeSantis with a golf simulator and private flights, according to a Washington Post article.

Hosseini gifted the simulator to the Governor’s Mansion as a loan in 2019, according to a letter sent by DeSantis’ chief of staff James Uthmeier. 

Two employees from AboutGolf, an Ohio-based golfing company, installed the simulator in June 2019, according to an email obtained by The Post.

AboutGolf simulators cost $22,500 to $69,500, according to its website.

The Mansion Commission, an eight-member group that oversees all gifts given to the Governor’s Mansion, approved the loan, Uthmeier confirmed in the letter.

Hosseini’s donations didn’t end with the golf simulator. 

Hosseini and his companies donated more than $265,000 to DeSantis’ political action committee Empower Parents, formerly known as Friends of Ron DeSantis.

He also lent his private plane to DeSantis and his wife, Casey, on at least 12 occasions, according to campaign finance disclosures obtained by The Post.

In 2018, Hosseini took DeSantis to play at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. Three years later, DeSantis appointed Hosseini and the club’s chairman, Fred Ridley, to the UF Board of Trustees.

Ten of 13 trustees have donated over 1.1 million to Empower Parents PAC.

Hosseini and DeSantis’ relationship exceeds donations.

Emails revealed Hosseini sent Joseph Ladapo’s resume to UF Health. 

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Ladapo received tenure at UF Health the same week he was appointed surgeon general by DeSantis. 

DeSantis said the two hires were unrelated.

"I don't think anyone who interviewed him knew he was going to be appointed to this," DeSantis said. "It wasn't anything we had done and obviously we wanted to see how that shaped out before we formally offered him."

A UF Faculty Senate report found Ladapo’s hire violated hiring regulations and procedures. The report showed university officials knew Ladapo was being considered as surgeon general before he was hired at UF.

DeSantis announced his 2024 presidential run in May.

His presidential campaign has not yet released campaign finance disclosures to the FEC.

Contact Garrett at gshanley@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @garrettshanley.


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Garrett Shanley

Garrett Shanley is a third-year journalism and history major and The Alligator's Fall 2023 university administration reporter. In his free time, Garrett can be found watching Wong Kar-Wai movies and brooding.


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