September 23, 2020

Pam Bondi did NOT get married in the Cayman Islands and it’s official


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Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi serves beverages to friends and family aboard their flight May 25 to the Cayman Islands. The photo was posted on Facebook by state Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland. Paula Dockery / via AP

The did it happen or did it not happen story we reported on May 29 under the heading “Did THE wedding happen and did you know Cayman Islands is in the Bahamas?” has been answered.

The first and most important information I can reveal is that the Cayman Islands – yes all three islands – are NOT part of the Bahamas.

Just because it said so in many of the threads running all over the Internet from Friday 24th it is not so. Just as it said in even many of the threads that Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi got married to Tampa ophthalmologist Greg Henderson last Saturday (26) at 5pm on the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman’s beachfront Great Lawn, that wasn’t true either.

We reported the doubts about the wedding but that did not stop the claims that the wedding had taken place from continuing. It went on unabated and it is incredible such a non-world shattering and quite frankly who cares story took precedent over the dramas that were earth shattering.

The only reason we reported it was because it happened here on our doorstep. The wedding (sorry not a wedding) party of 60-70 guests, including the Florida Governor, Rick Scott and a former Tampa mayor, arriving here on a Cayman Airways jet with the Florida Attorney General, Pam Bondi, also on board is certainly unusual and news worthy for us to mention it.

The actual news story was that it was supposed to have been a “hush, hush” wedding that was leaked with a photo of m/s Bondi serving beverages to friends and family aboard the flight on the 25th.

Pam Bondi and her fiance, Greg Henderson, dance on the sand in the Cayman Islands on Saturday night.

Then when we called the Ritz-Carlton we were told that there was no one of the name of Pam Bondi staying there!

But Bondi was there. How can you hide 70 guests arriving on a small island supposedly for a wedding with only one hotel that could possibly be used for such an occasion considering who some of these people were?

The best and most professional report appeared in Thursday’s Miami Herald under the title

“Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Cayman trip looked like a wedding; it wasn’t, and many wonder why” and written by Tia Mitchell. Here it is:
It looked like a wedding.

Sixty or 70 guests at a luxury Caribbean resort, including the governor and a former Tampa mayor. A beaming bride in a white dress with a flower in her hair. A photographer flown in to take pictures of the smiling couple with aqua water behind them.

But Attorney General Pam Bondi says no ceremony took place at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman on Saturday. And many questions remain about when and why Bondi made the last-minute decision not to get married.

Did Bondi bow to conservative critics who felt her jaunt across seas was politically tone deaf? The 46-year-old now says she will be wed in a small, private ceremony at a Tampa-area Baptist church.

Did leaks on gossip blogs and social media sites cause the couple to shy from the publicity? A photo of Bondi serving cocktails during the plane ride to the Cayman Islands quickly made the rounds online.

Or is something more personal and heartbreaking involved? Bondi and her fiance, 62-year-old ophthalmologist Greg Henderson, spent the weekend entertaining family and friends and are still on vacation together. But that hasn’t stopped people from wondering whether one of the two got cold feet or if there was a prenuptial disagreement.

From vacation, the couple emailed theTimes/Herald to say the speculation is inaccurate. Said Henderson: “We are enjoying a happy and blessed trip and are deeply in love with each other.”

This will be marriage No. 3 for Bondi after two divorces. She wed Garret Barnes in 1990 at age 24; they divorced 22 months later. Her second marriage to Scott Fitzgerald in 1997 ended just shy of six years.

Henderson is a widower. His wife, Kathy, died in 2002 at age 50. They had been married for 26 years and the couple’s four children — Kristen, Greg Jr., David and Matt — are grown.

Bondi has been planning her wedding to Henderson for months. In November, she told the Tampa Bay Times that she was hoping for a spring affair. Political insiders eventually caught wind that a destination wedding was planned for Memorial Day weekend, but details were limited and the guest list was exclusive.

The first details discussed publicly came from an unlikely source: state Sen. Paula Dockery, who coincidentally was on the same commercial flight to the Cayman Islands on Thursday. She snapped a picture of Bondi serving cocktails to the wedding party and posted it on her Facebook page.

“She looked so happy and I asked permission to take a picture and post on FB,” Dockery told the Herald/Times in a Twitter exchange. “My intent was to share her joy with others.”

South Florida blogger Jose Lambiet, who writes a gossip column for The Herald, caught wind of Dockery’s post and followed up with a call to the Ritz-Carlton. He said a staffer confirmed the details.

“She said the wedding was at 5 o’clock on Saturday and they were at rehearsal” during the time he called Friday, Lambiet said.

Things changed the next day. Hotel staff denied Bondi or Henderson were guests when Lambiet called again and there was no longer mention of a ceremony.

“Saturday I got to thinking, there is something cooking there,” he said.

Bondi confirmed to the Tampa Bay Times on Saturday that the wedding was postponed for a few weeks, but she wouldn’t say why. She described the weekend as a “celebration of upcoming nuptials.”

Even some of the guests invited to join the couple in Cayman didn’t know about the change in plans as they embarked for the Caribbean. Former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco said he isn’t sure when he learned there wouldn’t be a wedding, perhaps on the plane ride there.
“Some knew, and some didn’t,” said Greco, who travelLed with his wife, Linda McClintock. “But everybody knew before Saturday.”

There was still partying and even kind words for the bride and groom, but no formalities, Greco said. “They had a prayer and a couple of Bible scriptures and said that is what they had decided to do.”

Greco said he understands if the couple agreed that a ceremony in a church close to home would be more fitting.

“That doesn’t surprise me knowing Greg for as long as I’ve known him,” Greco said. “He’s a person who lives his religion.”

The exclusive invite list included Gov. Rick Scott and his wife, Ann. None of the other Cabinet members or the lieutenant governor were mentioned among the guests.

Many of the friends and associates contacted by the Herald/Times declined to comment. Asked whether he thought a wedding was going to take place, Scott answered vaguely on Wednesday: “I went for Pam’s celebration.”

As Scott spent Saturday in the Cayman Islands, Tropical Storm Beryl threatened northeast Florida. Scott’s staff said he monitored the storm closely and returned to Florida for scheduled events on Sunday and Monday.

“I stayed on top of it the whole time,” the governor said. “As soon as we went to a level 1, I was here.”

Bondi has faced the most criticism over the weekend, not only for the secrecy surrounding her wedding plans but the details themselves.

Greco, who has had his share of the spotlight, bristled at some negative comments strangers directed at the attorney general. Her initial decision to get married at a Caribbean resort instead of a Florida church was personal, not political, he said.

Dockery, who is still vacationing in Cayman, also said she was shocked at the reaction and called it “absurdity.” She removed the picture from her Facebook wall, but it has already been copied onto various websites.

“If I had known this would be anything other than a very joyful and lighthearted moment for Pam, I certainly wouldn’t have shared even with her consent,” said Dockery, a Lakeland Republican.

However, Lambiet believes Bondi created what he considers a public relations disaster. She was naive to think that Floridians wouldn’t be curious about her wedding, he said, and should have been more forthcoming about what she planned.

Former Gov. Charlie Crist got it right in his highly publicized 2008 wedding to Carole Rome, according to Lambiet. Curious citizens gathered outside the St. Petersburg church to cheer on the couple, and Crist made sure the media got all the photos they wanted, the blogger said.

“I think she failed miserably at a potential PR coup,” Lambiet said, making note that Bondi’s name has been floated as a future gubernatorial candidate. “And if you can’t handle this, how can you handle a campaign?”

Other than the couple’s email late Wednesday night, Bondi has not been seen or heard from.

Still, one thing is clear: The couple is not a honeymoon.
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