Audit questions spending by former Seminole Tax Collector Joel Greenberg

Auditors have combed through former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg’s office records which show spending of approximately $1.6 million on what investigators have deemed “unnecessary" expenses.

That included personnel, one of whom was a woman that paperwork showed was being paid $105,000 -- her position and job title were unclear, as the report states that “staff had no idea what she did.”   A safety specialist was paid more than $195,000, with the auditors commenting that “there was no known reason for this position.”  Auditors identified 15 positions that were considered to be a waste of taxpayer dollars.

That’s not the only expenditure auditors are questioning.  According to the paperwork, Greenberg formed the company Government Blockchain Systems LLC.  Auditors noted when speaking with Greenberg, “it was unclear what the purpose of Government Blockchain Systems was and how it fully integrated with the duties of a tax collector.” 

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They said, at one point, Greenberg said it was for cryptocurrency.  Auditors noted records revealed several purchases for thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency mining devices from a Chinese company called “Ant Miner.”

Paperwork shows Greenberg used $90,000 in public funds to build a server room inside his private office to house all that equipment, even put a keypad at the door so only he and one other person could access it.  Auditors said staff reported to them that the equipment kept overloading the breakers in the building. 

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After the Seminole County Tax Collector’s Lake Mary office was closed during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the staff told auditors that Greenberg moved all of Government Blockchain’s equipment to their Lake Mary location. There, the report states that the equipment caused a power surge which started a fire doing $67,00 in damage.  None of that was covered by insurance, “due to the negligence of the Seminole County Tax Collector,” according to the audit.