A Hardee County Grand Jury has blasted former Tampa state Rep. Jamie Grant and other officials for their involvement in a medical start-up technology company that received millions of dollars in public money with little to show for it.
Although the report was completed in January, its contents weren’t revealed until this weekend by WTSP-Channel 10 reporter Mike Deeson.
The case revolves around financial grants that help fund Grant’s company, LifeSync Technologies, which eventually produced CareSync, a Web and mobile application that lets people store and control their medical records online.
The grand jury found that there was a lack of “any meaningful review” of the proposed Caresync project by the agency responsible for the grants, the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) in Hardee County. The report said there was insufficient monitoring of how the public’s money was being spent during the Caresync project, and there was a failure by the IDA to be able to determine whether the public received the benefit it should have for the money spent.
The man singled out the most in the report isn’t Grant, but Bill Lambert, director of the Hardee County Economic Development Council. The grand jury report says he appeared to be “timid, afraid, and embarrassed to scrutinize closely or ask questions about how the expenditures were benefitting the project and the people of Hardee County.” Others criticized in the report include Orlando state Rep. Jason Broudeur, Hardee County Rep. Ben Albritton and his brother Joe, who helped broker the deal to give Grant’s company millions in a public grant.
But it doesn’t spare Grant, saying that when his company received $2.5 million he “brought no equity, no start-up capital, no business track record, and no credibility to the table.”
Grant has said he began planning the product in early 2011 with Tampa-based health-care entrepreneur Travis Bond, head of Continuum Labs.
The report says that when Grant and Bond made their pitch at the meeting to be given consideration for the financial grant, among the things they said was that because Bond’s company already had 8,000 customers ready to go and Grant had access to 3,000 elderly people as customers through his law firm, there would be “10,000-15,000 ready users to go on day one.” They went on to say that by 2012, there would be 30,000 users of the product, with $1.1 million in revenues, and by 2014 there would be 400,000 users of the product, with $26.4 million in revenues.
But the report goes to say that, “As of the end of 2014, these projections have proven to be mere smoke and not even come close to being met. The majority of the revenue for the company has come from the IDA, not paying customers.”
Grant served in the Florida House from 2010 to 2014 in HD 64, which encompasses eastern Pinellas and northwest Hillsborough County. He was re-elected last fall to another two year term, but the House of Representatives rejected that result and vacated the office due to an ongoing lawsuit involving a write-in candidate. He is heavily expected to win the special general election scheduled to be held on April 21.
The deal has been severely scrutinized over the past few years, but Grant and other officials have never been charged with wrongdoing.
The Hardee County State Attorney’s Office said in October of 2012 that they found no fraud or criminal activity with the deal.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement closed a nearly two-year-long inquiry in November of 2013, saying “no sustainable criminal allegation was established,” according to the Tampa Tribune.
And last summer Grant and state Rep. Ben Albritton were cleared of ethics violations by the Florida Commission on Ethics, who said they found no probable cause that the legislators misused their elected position to benefit themselves in the development project.
Florida Politics reached out to Grant on Monday for comment, but had not heard back at the time of this posting.