SEBRING - The impression that all politicians are rich doesn't quite hold true, according to the financial disclosure forms required by the Florida Ethics Commission. Highlands County's most prominent office holders also owe substantial amounts of money.
Of the five constitutional officers and five county commissioners, three are millionaires: Ron Handley, Raymond McIntyre and Bob Germaine. Two, Don Elwell and Eric Zwayer, list their net worth at less than $100,000.
Of Highlands County's three state legislators, only Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring, had filed her Form 6. Although the deadline was July 1, Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, has not filed his form. Galvano said he prefers to attach his tax return, which has not been received yet.
Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park, a U.S. Army Reserve lieutenant colonel, has been given until Oct. 18 to file. He is deployed to Kuwait as an emergency medicine physician.
Grimsley listed a savings account, an IRA, a checking account, a note receivable and a 401(k) account among $158,114 in assets. Liabilities include two banks and an automotive finance agency. Her legislative salary is $29,697. Her net worth is $546,000.
Highlands County commissioners earn $48,802 per year, which Elwell, Jim Brooks, Jack Richie, Greg Harris and Ron Handley listed among their assets.
Additionally, Elwell listed a 2006 automobile and his Florida Retirement System account among his $34,000 in assets, and two loans for $30,000 in liabilities. His net worth is listed at $29,500.
Brooks listed a 2008 automobile, three bank accounts, an Edward Jones investment account, his Avon Park home and a bonus agreement with Saxon Groves among $1 million in assets, His home was also among the liabilities for an $874,000 net worth.
Jack Richie listed a home, notes and loans receivable and insurance renewals among $583,000 in assets and a reverse mortgage, Chase Auto Finance and six credit cards, among $480,000 in liabilities. His net assets totaled $202,196.
Harris listed Country Club Utilities, his home and a rental home among $960,000 in assets. Liabilities include a note at Highlands Independent Bank, a mortgage, and two credit cards among $645,000 in liabilities. He has two salaries, including YMCA director.
Handley's 28-page report included $4.58 million in assets and $115,000 in liabilities for a $4.47 million net worth. A summary of assets included cash, bonds, notes, stocks, Heartland Bank shares, business interests, annuities, insurance, real estate, and personal residences in Highlands County and Chokoloskee.
Zwayer listed his own home, four rental houses, an acreage, and three retirement accounts among $383,000 in assets. His liabilities include four bank notes. His net worth is $63,000. His tax collector's salary is $112,435 per year.
Raymond McIntyre lists his family home in Sebring, his retirement account and two investments among $1.68 million in assets. Loans total about $350,000. His net worth is $1.46 million. His property appraiser's salary is $112,435.
Penny Ogg lists property, a checking and a savings account among $182,000 in assets. A mortgage and a note at Heartland National Bank are among $121,000 in liabilities. Her net worth is $129,000. Her salary as elections supervisor is $94,760.
Susan Benton lists a home and a condo in Sebring among $300,000 in assets and notes for a home and a vehicle among $264,000 in liabilities. Her net worth is $186,000. Her salary as sheriff is $121,031.