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Politics / Issues

CFO Jimmy Patronis Seeks To Make Cabinet Agenda Clear On Rubin

Office of Financial Regulation Commissioner Ronald Rubin was fired on Thursday.
Office of the Financial Regulator
Suspended Office of Financial Regulation Commissioner Ronald Rubin

State Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis wants it spelled out that the Cabinet will act Thursday on the employment of suspended Office of Financial Regulation Commissioner Ronald Rubin and could discuss appointment of an interim commissioner.

Patronis’ director of Cabinet affairs, Robert Tornillo, on Friday asked Beau Beaubien, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ director of Cabinet affairs, to add language to the meeting agenda saying that a vote will be held on Rubin’s employment and, if necessary, a discussion will be held on appointment of an interim replacement and on the process for finding a permanent replacement.

“This matter is subject to intense media scrutiny, with some members of the media openly questioning whether the notice is sufficient,” Tornillo wrote.

An agenda posted online Thursday for the meeting said, “Inspector general report --- Commissioner Ronald Rubin,” without going into more detail. DeSantis and the Cabinet --- Patronis, Attorney General Ashley Moody and Agriculture Nikki Fried --- jointly oversee the Office of Financial Regulation.

Tornillo noted his request for the additional agenda language was “out of an abundance of caution.”

Rubin served 57 days as the state’s top financial regulator before his suspension by Patronis following a sexual harassment complaint filed on May 10.

An inspector general report about the allegations has been provided to DeSantis and the Cabinet members. An executive summary of the report, which said Rubin violated department policy prohibiting misconduct, was released to the media on Wednesday.

Rubin, who has argued the complaint is the result of a misunderstanding, accused Patronis of “pay to play --- or else” politics that included demands for a $1 million political contributions from Rubin’s father, who is a wealthy developer, for getting the state job.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has been asked to investigate Patronis’ public release of a redacted version of the confidential harassment complaint lodged against Rubin. FDLE spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger confirmed Friday the agency is “reviewing information from multiple sources.”