Coral Gables billionaire Michael B. "Mike" Fernandez, who has stayed out of the public spotlight since resigning as Gov. Rick Scott's chief campaign fundraiser, appeared in public Tuesday and tried to downplay his differences with the Scott campaign.
Speaking to Local 10 senior political reporter Michael Putney at the Mandarin Oriental, where he took part in a panel on Hispanic entrepreneurs, Fernandez said he left the Scott campaign because he had met a fundraising goal of $25 million.
"In fact, we exceeded it," Fernandez said. "We raised $30 million."
"Didn't you leave the Scott campaign because he wanted your money, but not your advice on how to reach Hispanics?" Putney asked.
"I will continue to contribute to and support Gov. Scott," Fernandez said. "There are always disagreements in families, but we share the same core values."
Another reason widely cited as an irritant to Fernandez was the alleged use of fake Mexican accents by Anglo Scott campaign staffers en route to a Mexican restaurant in Coral Gables.
Fernandez acknowledged that he was not in the car when the remarks were allegedly made, but he said a friend was and heard them.
"If it did happen then it shouldn't have," Fernandez said.
The Scott campaign has denied that any members of the team made such remarks.