Florida Taxpayers Paid $1,200 to Provide Security for S.C. Governor While He Visited With Argentine Lover

May 14, 2010 - 2:34 PM
Security for SC Gov Rendezvous Costs Fla. $1,200

In this Feb. 21, 2010 photo, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford participates in the Southern Governors' Association meeting on energy independence during the National Governors Association winter meeting in Washington. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

Tallahassee, Fla. - Florida spent about $1,200 to provide security for South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford when he visited to be with his Argentine lover, records show.
 
The recently divorced governor spent several days in South Florida over Mothers' Day weekend to see if he could rekindle his relationship with Maria Belen Chapur.
 
Information obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request from the Department of Law Enforcement shows Florida state agents provided security for Sanford from May 7 through May 11, with the exception of Mothers' Day on Sunday. The cost was $1,206.12.
 
Florida officials did not immediately say whether the state will be reimbursed or explain why Sanford was not protected on Mother's Day, which was May 9.
 
His safety and accessibility became issues when he disappeared for five days last summer after he slipped his security detail and left no word on where he had gone. That raised questions about who was in charge of the state.
 
He returned to confess he was in Argentina visiting Chapur. He had told his staff he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.
 
The Florida-born governor divorced earlier this year.
 
Sanford said at a news conference Wednesday said that there is reciprocity among states that extend protection to visiting governors. But it was unclear whether South Carolina or Sanford would reimburse Florida.
 
"I do not discuss details of the governor's security arrangements, as has been the case and will continue to be," Sanford spokesman Ben Fox said Friday.
 
Meanwhile, the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division did not respond to requests for information about how those interstate arrangements are handled.