ORLANDO, Fla. - Governor Ron DeSantis has announced that the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Office of Attorney General has settled pending civil actions with the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Inc. (FCADV), its officers and directors, and the FCADV foundation.
The settlement was said to be for more than $5 million.
The Governor spoke with Attorney General Ashley Moody about the funds on Thursday in Orlando.
"Today’s settlement is a win in our fight to recover money that was intended to help families rebuild after facing domestic violence," said Governor Ron DeSantis. "This organization acted in greed, abusing state dollars meant to serve families during their most vulnerable times. I am thankful this injustice was righted today with the return of this money."
"For several years, FCADV and Tiffany Carr concocted to pay herself an excessive compensation scheme, millions of dollars meant to benefit domestic violence victims. When uncovered, this scheme threatened to disrupt funding to domestic violence centers," said Attorney General Ashley Moody. "I am pleased that through these actions, we succeeded in getting rid of the bad management, dismantling the organization, implementing a new system to serve victims of domestic violence and recouping millions of misappropriated funds.
She added, "Non-profit officers and directors who administer taxpayer funds take note: you have a heightened responsibility to use that money prudently. Today is a positive step towards restoring faith in the system and returning funds to the rightful recipients—ensuring domestic violence survivors receive the services and help they need to heal in a safe and secure environment."
"Florida taxpayers deserve full accountability and transparency," said DCF Secretary Shevaun Harris. "The FCADV was deceptive with state funds, and I thank Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature for the justice served today. We will continue working to ensure survivors receive the care and support they need while remaining transparent with the Legislature and taxpayers."
Governor DeSantis reportedly ordered an investigation into the FCADV in early 2020 after reports indicated that officers of the non-profit were receiving exorbitant compensation. They failed to provide accurate financial records to DCF and the Florida Legislature passed a House bill to remove them from statute. This allowed DCF to directly contract with providers to administer life-saving domestic violence services.
Then on February 27, 2020, the Governor signed the House bill and FCADV’s sole-source contract was immediately terminated.
DCF is said to have filed a lawsuit against FCADV, alleging a breach of contract, breach of the implied duty of good faith, breach of fiduciary duty, fraudulent concealment, civil conspiracy, and fraudulent misrepresentation.
"In connection with the settlement, the FCADV officers and directors will pay more than $3.9 million to DCF and the receiver, including a more than $2 million payment by Carr. The FCADV foundation is required to liquidate all remaining assets and pay $1.1 million to domestic violence centers around the state," the Governor’s Office said.
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