CEO 74-2 -- September 3, 1974
JOINTLY HELD PROPERTY; NEGATIVE REPORTS ON
CE FORMS 2 AND 3
To: Leonard H. Smith, Jr., Candidate for Largo City Commission, Clearwater
Prepared by: Patricia Butler
Under the provisions of the financial disclosure law, Ch. 74-177, Laws of Florida, candidates for public office must list total assets excluding any asset having a value equal to or less than 15 percent of the total. Jointly held property is an asset and must be included in the computation of total assets. The amount to be included in the gross computation should be the percentage of value of the jointly held property equal to the percentage of the officer's joint ownership. Joint property must be listed as an asset in the statement of disclosure if, after computation of gross assets, the property has a value greater than 15 percent of the total value of the candidate's assets. The types of disclosure sought by CE Forms 2 and 3 are affirmative in nature. Therefore, if the answers to all statutorily required information would be "none" or "not applicable" these forms need not be filed.
1. In complying with the financial disclosure requirements of s. 5 of Ch. 74-177, Laws of Florida, are jointly held properties to be reported as assets of the reporting officer or candidate?
2. Must CE Form 2, Quarterly Statement of Disclosure of Clients Represented Before Agencies, and CE Form 3, Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest by Public Officers, Public Employees, and Candidates, be filed if the answers to all statutorily required information would be "none" or "not applicable"?
Your question 1 is answered in the affirmative. Under s. 112.3145(1)(e), F. S., as created by Ch. 74-177, Laws of Florida, the statement of financial disclosure shall include:
A list of the total assets of each public officer or candidate, listed in order of size, excluding any asset which is equal to or less than fifteen percent of the total; any real property not situate in Florida and the personal residence and recreational or vacation homes of each public officer or candidate shall be excluded from the list. Each listed asset shall be identified only by type, location, address or legal description. (Emphasis supplied.)
Since jointly held property is clearly an asset of the joint owner, it is the opinion of the Ethics Commission that jointly held properties are to be included in the computation of the total assets of the candidate or public officer. The value to be included in this computation should not be the total value of the property, however, since the extent of the asset must be measured by the extent of the joint ownership. Thus, the amount to be included in computing gross assets is the percentage of the value of the jointly held property equal to the percentage of the officer's joint ownership. The only purpose for computing the value of your total assets is to enable you to determine which of your assets have a value which exceeds 15 percent of this total -- you do not have to list the value of any asset or your total assets. After the computation of gross assets, as noted above, this property must be listed as an asset in the statement of disclosure provided it does not fall into any of the statutorily excluded categories such as: having a value equal to or less than 15 percent of the total value of your assets; or being real property not situate in Florida; or being your personal residence or recreational or vacation home.
Your question 2 is answered in the negative. The Ethics Commission is of the opinion that a purely negative report is not to be filed on CE Forms 2 and 3. The type of disclosure sought by these forms is positive or affirmative in nature. Therefore, if you, or if applicable, any partner or associate of the professional firm of which you are a member, have not represented a client, during the quarter, before your own agency, the agency in which you are seeking office, or any agency at the same level of government as the agency in which you hold office or are seeking office, then you are not required to file CE Form 2.
Likewise, if you do not hold any of the positions enumerated in s. 112.313(3), F. S., as amended by Ch. 74-177, Laws of Florida, in any business entity which is granted a privilege to operate, or is doing business with the governmental agency of which you are an officer or employee; or if you do not own, directly or indirectly, 10 percent or more of the total assets or capital stock of such a business entity, you are not required to file CE Form 3.