Domestic violence victims in Florida have been caught in the middle of a corruption investigation involving the CEO of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence Foundation as it appears that the former CEO has been funneling foundation funding into her personal salary account. The relief foundation for financially strapped victims has been ordered into receivership by a Florida judge, who has also released $500,000 of the fund’s current $1.5 million frozen holdings for distribution to creditors and victims of domestic violence within the state.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a motion in Leon County Circuit Court requesting the funds be released to an attorney in Jacksonville for disbursement to claimants and victims. The remaining $1 million will remain frozen under order from the circuit judge, and the funds will be used to pay claims brought forth against the FCADV and assist domestic violence victims in the state of Florida as intended.
AG Moody had initially requested a freeze on the non-profit’s funds after an investigation into activity at the FCADV revealed that the non-profit CEO had paid herself employment benefits for time off in both 2017 and 2018 in addition to her $716,000 salary as she resigned from her CEO position. She reportedly claimed 465 days’ pay for PTO in 2017 along with 620 in 2018 for herself and select members of her staff. The total amounted to $4.5 million over her span at the foundation. Her annual salary added to the PTO financial benefit claim during her three-year career with FCADV totaled $7.5 million.
The investigation is still ongoing as all contracts that were in force with FCADV have been ordered severed by Governor Ron DeSantis. The release of the $500,000 will allow attorneys for the domestic violence victims to seek financial assistance for those eligible, allowing some relief for the intended parties who have been waiting in the wings of the embezzlement scam. Those who have been victims of domestic violence may want to consult an attorney about their rights and how to pursue justice for harm done to them.