Regina Hill arrest: Who will replace commissioner following suspension?

Orlando city commissioners met Monday afternoon, just a few days after District 5 Commissioner Regina Hill was arrested for elderly exploitation and fraud

Hill's arrest was not on the city council meeting agenda, but it was the first time commissioners met after word of a Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) investigation of Hill came to light. She was arrested Thursday on charges of elderly exploitation, personal identification fraud, and mortgage fraud. She has pleaded not guilty to seven felony charges and has represented areas of western Orlando since 2013. 

Hill, who bonded out of jail on Thursday afternoon, briefly appeared during a commission board workshop on Monday. When the meeting was adjourned, she exited through a back door from the commission chamber. 

Hill was arrested and booked into the Orange County Jail following a 13-month-long investigation from the FDLE and an indictment from a grand jury, which revealed that Hill allegedly took advantage of a 96-year-old constituent and used $100,000 of her money to fund vacations, medical procedures and pay her bills. 

"If they're true, they're awful allegations," Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said on Monday. "I'm just really shocked over the course of the last week, to learn about all of this."

WHO IS REGINA HILL?: What to know about arrested Orlando Commissioner

On Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended Hill, but he added that she could return to office if exonerated. 

"I think there's been a lot of buzz in that community. I think that there's a lot of problems, or a lot of concerning things with this conduct and this behavior, but that's for the courts to settle," DeSantis said during an appearance at the Greater Miami Expressway Agency. 

Late Monday evening, Hill released a statement through the District 5 community email: 

"As I navigate through these challenging times, I want to assure the residents of District 5 that our team's commitment to your needs and well-being stands firm. The office remains operational and fully equipped to provide the support you need, so please don't hesitate to contact them at or by calling 407-246-2005 for any assistance.

"My confidence in the integrity of the legal process and faith in God is unwavering, and I'm deeply moved by the support from our community. This support is a constant reminder of the strength and resilience that defines District 5, and it fuels my continued dedication to serving and uplifting every community member through these trying times. I will wait for my day in court when I'll be able to prove my innocence and that I always acted in good faith."

Hill's suspension now sets the stage for a special election in Orlando to fill the District 5 seat, which includes downtown Orlando and the communities of Parramore, Rock Lake, Malibu, Clear Lake, Ivey Lane, Lake Sunset, the Willows, the Mercy Drive Corridor, Timber Sounds, Lake Mann Homes, Demetrius Homes, Timberleaf and Metro West. 

Mayor Dyer said the council would meet in one week to address the special election. Community advocate Shaniqua Shan Rose has announced she would like to run for Hill's seat and be on the ballot for the potential special election.

"I do fully intend to run in the seat and run in a special election and be able to represent this community," Rose said to FOX 35 News Monday night.

Shaniqua Shan Rose 

Rose ran against Hill in 2021. She lives in Parramore and used to work for the City of Orlando before leaving to focus on her non-profit Change for the Community.

"When Hurricane Ian hit, Change for the Community, which is my nonprofit, we were cleaning up yards. We hired over 100 people, 100-plus individuals, to be able to clean, to not only just clean up their community, but work and clean up their community," she explained. "The beating of the streets has never stopped. So, I just continue to beat the streets a little bit harder, and as opposed to just hearing concerns, now I want to take your concerns to council and be a member to represent everyone in this community," she continued.

The city says a tentative date for that special election is May 23.