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Surprise! Rick Scott Also Had "Fatal Flaws" as a CEO

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"People close to Mr. Scott characterized his downfall in terms suitable for a Greek tragedy, portraying him as a brilliant and incisive businessman who was undone by his fatal flaws. Those flaws, they said, included an arrogance and aggressiveness that permeated the company."

No, this is not a premature eulogy for Scott's gubernatorial administration. It's an excerpt from a New York Times article written 14 years ago, when Scott was forced to resign as CEO of Columbia/HCA, the health-care company he founded.

In 1997, FBI agents raided the company's offices and hospitals in several states, alleging

the company paid kickbacks to doctors in exchange for patient referrals and overcharged Medicare. The U.S. Justice Department called the resulting criminal case the largest health-care fraud case in American history. Columbia/HCA pleaded guilty to 14 felonies and paid $1.7 billion in fines. Scott was never charged.   

But as the criminal investigation began, Scott's successor, Dr. Thomas Frist Jr., told the Times he was changing the culture of Columbia/HCA. Frist promised to make the company "less combative with the government, competitors, its employees, and the press."

Combative with the government and the press? You're kidding -- Rick Scott behaved that way?

The Times went on to glean some important insights into Scott's character, including personality traits that had "distressed" members of his company's board.

"Mr. Scott would seek advice only from those people who agreed with him, said people close to the company. Anyone who disagreed with his approach was tossed aside as an impediment to his brand of change."

Tossing people aside who don't agree with him? No, that doesn't sound like Scott at all.


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