After many months of obstruction by the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Governor’s office received deeply disturbing information regarding the organization’s practices over the past several years. These practices include exorbitant compensation payouts, abuse of state dollars, withholding of information, and breach of public trust.
Governor Ron DeSantis has requested Chief Inspector General (CIG), Melinda Miguel, to determine if there are reasonable grounds to refer the matter for criminal investigation to law enforcement. If the evidence leads to that conclusion, CIG Miguel will take the appropriate action going forward. This investigation is a top priority for Governor DeSantis.
The Governor has been urging action on this matter since 2019. Due to these ongoing concerns, the Governor recommended competitive procurement for domestic violence services rather than continuing to directly contract with the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence in his Fiscal Year 2020-2021 budget recommendations.
Governor DeSantis also directed the Secretary of the Department of Children and Families (DCF), Chad Poppell, to take action in this case and manage the obligations of the Florida Coalition of Domestic Violence throughout the period of transition.
Additionally, Governor DeSantis thanked Florida House Speaker José Oliva and Senate President Bill Galvano who have publicly shared concerns over the lack of transparency and obstruction on the part of the leadership of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence and recommended they take immediate legislative action to amend the state statute that has contributed to this unwarranted behavior. Currently, DCF’s hands are tied by law to contract with the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence and DCF is not provided the statutory tools that would ensure appropriate oversight. This must change to immediately correct this situation.
DCF has communicated to the staff and providers of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence they should continue to report to work in service of the victims of domestic violence.
Governor DeSantis will not tolerate wasteful or fraudulent spending, particularly from an organization that purports to serve the vulnerable victims of domestic violence. Accountability and transparency require good stewardship of state funds and the people of Florida are entitled to accountability and transparency within every aspect of our state government.
Helen Aguirre Ferré
Director of Communications
Governor Ron DeSantis