Nikki Fried finally reports 2018 income, but $530,000 in new wealth remains a mystery

by | Jan 31, 2020

Amended disclosure brings Fried into compliance with legal requirements; Florida Ethics Commission says disclosures missing required information do not trigger automatic fines

Thursday afternoon, seven months after a mandatory filing deadline, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried reported her 2018 income to the Florida Ethics Commission. That required information was missing from the document she initially filed last July, but went unnoticed for nearly seven months. Her failure to comply with the state’s financial disclosure law was first reported by The Capitolist more than a week ago.

But Fried’s newly reported income of just $72,000 falls short of explaining how Fried became a millionaire between June of 2018 and June of 2019. She claimed a net worth of just over $271,000 on her 2017 disclosure, which she filed in mid-2018, but on her report for fiscal year 2018, she listed a new net worth of $1.4 million, a one-year gain of $1.13 million in new wealth.

The spike in Fried’s wealth includes a $701,000 luxury home she was gifted by her boyfriend (now fiance), Jake Bergmann, sometime in early January 2019. Even accounting for the new home, Fried’s assets still went up another $530,000 in value: a checking account balance that increased from $29,000 to $196,000, another $360,000 in assets she placed into a blind trust, and a handful of minor gains in other accounts.

Due to differences in reporting date requirements, it’s almost certain that Fried’s net worth calculation includes income earned in the first half of 2019 that isn’t required to be reported until July of this year. But even then, her primary income source would be the sum total of all her paychecks during her first six months as Agriculture Commissioner. That amounts to roughly $65,000 before taxes, which, even if she saved every single penny, doesn’t come close to explaining the remaining difference in Fried’s new wealth.

A spokesman for Fried declined to comment for this story.

 

 

 

6 Comments

  1. James W. Dougherty

    This is a continuing problem in government. While I am not prejudging Ms. Fried, an error of such magnitude suggests a motive to conceal. She absolutely needs to explain this increase in her net worth from one year to the next. As Ag Comm’r she has the power to influence legislation, environmental rule enforcement, and practices by ag companies. Ethics require full disclosure.

    Reply
  2. Carol Wiese

    What is The Capitolists angle on this story? Have they reported on similar or worse grievances by other state and federal employees or are they exerting pressure against a democratically elected government official? I’m curious because I’ve never heard of them before. I’ll be following this story in other media and watching what else The Capitolist reports upon.

    Reply
  3. Nobe Oddy

    Carol Wiese;

    Any financial irregularities of “other state and federal employees” don’t excuse the current and obvious financial irregularities of Nikki Fried. A full investigation is required into Fried’s finances, as it would be required of any “other state and federal employees” with irregularities like Fried’s.

    Don’t you agree, or are you only interested in “watching what else The Capitolist reports upon” as long as they “report upon” Republicans?

    Reply
  4. Rescue FL Ag

    I work very closely to fried and her band of thieves and I can ASSURE you, there is FAR worse than this out there!

    Department-wide mandates to not send emails to avoid creating public records, BLATANT racism by Emily Buckley, unethical/illegal behavior by Janella Johnson, and SO MUCH MORE!

    Survey monkey would be an EXCELLENT public records request if you want to know what’s REALLY going on in that department!

    Reply
  5. Daniel Ryan

    Rick Scott made $230 million as Governor. If you weren’t complaining about that you have no business complaining about this. I on the other hand complained about Scott, and Nikki is just Republican Light Beer.

    Reply
  6. stacey

    Maybe she signed a book deal like Obama $65M, Bernie Sanders Went from $750,000 to $2M in two years on a book deal. Keep an eye on his income after the 2020 election. Baltimore Mayor Pugh, and many others.

    Reply

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