Gov. Charlie Crist tailgated and watched this year's Super Bowl in Tampa, then boarded a 10-seat corporate jet the next morning for a quick trip back to Tallahassee, his schedule shows.

He flew courtesy of Dr. Steven M. Scott, of Boca Raton, founder of a large HMO and a hospital physician network.

Crist regularly flies on the private jets of wealthy businessmen, the Sun Sentinel found, but the governor won't disclose the details.

Over the past two years, Crist's calendar shows about 100 occasions when he was scheduled to fly in or out of private air terminals to get to the capital, concerts, dinners, sporting events, political appearances and stays in St. Petersburg and South Florida.

Crist's office would not reveal who paid for specific flights or answer questions about them, despite the governor's vow of transparency when he took office. "Our constitution requires that our government be open and transparent," Crist said in his January 2007 inaugural address. "And under my administration it will be like never before."

Years ago, as a state senator, Crist took aim at then-Gov. Lawton Chiles for accepting about 30 flights on private jets to watch football games or go turkey hunting. Chiles later reimbursed the planes' owners more than $7,000. "The whole thing smells," Crist said at the time, calling for elected officials to fully disclose private flights.

Now, as governor, Crist is mum about his own extensive use of private planes.

His office declined a request for an interview. A spokeswoman would say only that the governor follows travel guidelines and does not use state resources for trips that mix official, personal and political business.

Some say that's not enough of an explanation.

"The governor should be forthcoming and explain who it was who provided these planes and what the purpose was, or at least that there was no public business and no expectation of favors in return," said University of Florida law professor Joseph Little.

The wingmen
Florida makes two state planes available to Crist and other high-level officials around the clock, at a cost to taxpayers of $3.5 million a year. In the past two years, Crist has flown more than 270 times on state planes, which can only be used for government business.

For personal or political trips, Crist has to take commercial or private planes.

Since January 2007, Crist has taken 31 commercial flights, according to his schedule. His calendar shows the details of 11 private flights, including the tail number, owner and pilot names.

On 124 other occasions, the schedules either have Crist arriving in short time spans at events in distant cities without any reference to a flight, or show only a destination, time and private air terminal. All other information is listed as "TBD," or to be determined.

The governor's office said it had no records with complete flight details, even though his staff and security detail need the information to plan his trips in advance.

Using online flight-tracking records, the Sun Sentinel compared dates, times and destinations of the governor's travel to the routes of private planes. The newspaper identified 82 flights that corresponded to Crist's itineraries.

The majority of those planes were owned by the companies of Scott, the Boca Raton doctor, or Republican Party fundraiser Harry Sargeant, of Delray Beach.

Scott heads a medical investment company and founded an HMO that took in more than $230 million from the state from 2005 to 2008 under a contract to provide health care to state workers and retirees. In January 2008, the governor appointed Scott to the University of Florida's board of trustees.

Sargeant is a college fraternity brother of Crist's and former state Republican Party finance chairman. His companies have an oil operations lease at the Port of Tampa and Pentagon fuel contracts totaling more than $1.4 billion. Last month, one of Sargeant's corporate salesmen was indicted in Los Angeles for steering illegal campaign contributions to Crist and others.