Ron DeSantis Got a Golf Simulator and Round at Augusta, His Donor Got Millions in Covid Funds

Politicians who live in Florida really like golf!
The Walker Cup - Day 1
The Walker Cup - Day 1 / Cliff Hawkins/GettyImages

Ron DeSantis, much like Donald Trump, loves golf. He doesn't own any courses or even live at one, but he's obviously an avid golfer because he has a golf simulator at his home. His home being the Florida Governor's Mansion. Don't worry about the financial commitment though. The $27,500 golf simulator was donated to DeSantis by a donor who has received $92 million in federal covid relief funds for a "controversial" highway project. Via the Washington Post:

The decision by the Florida Department of Transportation to use money from the 2021 American Rescue Plan for the I-95 interchange at Pioneer Trail Road near Daytona Beach fulfilled a years-long effort by Mori Hosseini, a politically connected housing developer who owns two large tracts of largely forested land abutting the planned interchange. The funding through the DeSantis administration, approved shortly after the governor’s reelection, expedited the project by more than a decade, according to state documents.

Anyway, back to that golf simulator. It was donated years ago so it probably has nothing to do with it. Besides, DeSantis' chief of staff reviewed the simulator donation and determined it was totally cool. Via the Washington Post:

“This letter acknowledges that the Mansion Commission has received golf simulator equipment from Mori Hosseini to be possessed on loan at the Governor’s Mansion for an undisclosed term,” reads a 2019 letter to Hosseini from James Uthmeier, formerly a DeSantis lawyer and now his chief of staff. “This equipment will be stored within the Florida Governor’s Mansion gym and will be returned to you immediately upon request. I have reviewed and approved the circumstances of this loan to the Mansion Commission and verify that it is permissible in accordance with the Governor’s Ethics Code and Florida Statutory Code.”

Hosseini knew DeSantis was a big golf guy because he helped get him into Augusta during the early days of his governorship. That was revealed in a lengthy piece about how much it cost to play a round of golf with DeSantis.

Within the state, the memos outline a goal to tap into known Republican fundraisers such as St. Petersburg’s Mel Sembler, a former U.S. ambassador, and Daytona home builder Mori Hosseini for $250,000 one-hour events. Hosseini helped DeSantis arrange the opportunity of a lifetime for any avid duffer: a chance to play Augusta National Golf Club, home to the Masters professional golf tournament.

Some people say you can't put a price on playing Augusta. Some people aren't governor.