Yesterday, while we were whistling the day away and staring into the haze of the second longest daylight of the year, an email popped up from Charlie Crist's gubernatorial campaign – or at least its spokesman Kevin Cate – promising a big, fetid newsdump on Monday morning. There would be whistleblowers and attorneys, it promised. And it would involve some "blockbuster" revelations. HAPPY MONDAY! Well, of course it was going to be kind of a big deal, seeing as it was going to be announced at 10 a.m. in Monticello (near Tallahassee) in front of only the most "credentialed" of media, but mostly because we all know that Rick Scott is not fond of whistleblowers. They got him in trouble for Medicare fraud, remember? Anyway, the shiz went down this morning, and here is the Kevin Cate-penned press release on the matter, below. The big takeaway is that Rick Scott is a ruthless businessman and a bad economist, two things that have apparently led to him (via the Department of Economic Opportunity) to go hard on 19,000 undeserving Floridians in a manner which likely ruined their credit and, by transitive property, the state's economy. Oh, also he was a dick about it, says one whistleblower to whom the state was a dick. BRING ON THE LAWYERS. Bring on November.
Whistleblower Victory Exposes $1.9 Billion Liability for Scott Admin
~ 19,000 Floridians Fraudulently Sent to Collection Agencies, Credit Compromised
Tallahassee, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott’s Department of Economic Opportunity systematically and fraudulently reported around 19,000 Floridians to collection agencies, despite repeated warnings by whistleblower Dianne Parcell.
The State of Florida Commission on Human Relations concluded that the Rick Scott Administration failed to correct the fraudulent activities and “retaliated against [the whistleblower] because she engaged in [whistleblowing] protected conduct.”
A jury of her peers also concluded that the administration systematically retaliated against the whistleblower after she uncovered 97 conspicuous irregularities and refused to participate in an institutionalized cover up. The actual number of Floridians is estimated to be around 19,000.
During the trial it was revealed, under oath, that one Floridian has already demanded $100,000 and has settled with the state. This means taxpayers could be on the hook for around $1.9 billion worth of claims.
“This administration was heartless and deceitful to me for trying to stop the fraudulent claims, but irreparably hateful to 19,000 innocent Floridians just trying to get by during the recession,” said whistleblower Dianne Parcell.
Compromised credit scores have likely made it harder for these approximately 19,000 Floridians to buy or refinance a home, buy or lease a car to get to work, and obtain loans to return to school or train for new jobs. It also means unwarranted harassment from agencies tasked with recovering money not owed to the state.
Case: Dianne Parcell, Plaintiff v. State of Florida, Department of Economic Opportunity, case number 2013-CA-1003.
Tallahassee attorneys Keisha Rice and Patrick Frank at Frank and Rice P.A. represented the whistleblower. Rice is a former State Deputy Director of Tourism Trade and Economic Development.