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Gov. DeSantis orders investigation into head anti-domestic violence organization

Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida’s 42 domestic violence shelters are on pins and needles as the state opens two investigations into Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the non-profit that funnels state money to the shelters.

In a strongly worded memo, Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered Inspector General Melinda Miguel to look into the spending practices of the FCADV.

“The coalition’s compensation, their spending. A Look at whether or not there has been any reasonable grounds to determine whether a crime has occurred,” said Miguel.

Former CEO Tiffany Carr was paid at least $761,000 a year but there were other perks that could drive that number much higher.

“A number of records were provided already but we still need a lot more,” said Miguel.

Under state law, the Department of Children and Families is required to send all state money – $45 million a year – through the coalition.

“It puts the department in a very difficult position,” DCF Secretary Chad Poppel said.

Cap News spoke to Poppel as he left the Governor’s office Thursday.

“A vendor can basically tell us they are not going to agree to our terms and we have to give them the money anyway,” said Poppel.

Sen. Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville) is moving legislation to give DCF control of the funding.

“My immediate priority is to pass this bill,” said Bean.

The House will take a rare step subpoenaing more records and all of the coalitions board members.

“We need to get to the truth. For twenty months we’ve been stonewalled, not being given any information,” said Rep. Tom Leek (R-Daytona Beach), who chairs the House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee.

Attorney Mark Herron was hired by the FCDAV Wednesday.

“Interface with the committee as well to do an internal investigation into what went on,” said Herron.

Local shelters said they depend on monthly checks from the coalition to keep running and assert any delay in those checks could result in fewer victims being helped.

Also under investigation is a contract provision between local shelters and the coalition that required the shelters to pay dues twice a year to the coalition.

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