In the middle of a hot, humid summer in Florida’s capital city there’s been a lot of talk regarding another sexual harassment case that has been been rumbling through the halls of state government involving the actions of the state’s Office of Financial Regulation Commissioner Ronald Rubin and state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis.
It’s a case that could result in a showdown at next week’s Cabinet meeting between the two financial officers, Gov. Ron DeSantis and members of the Florida Cabinet, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement
Rubin has been the subject of allegations from a staff worker who claims he asked her out and then invited her back to his downtown Tallahassee condo. He was suspended earlier this year following the reports of the sexual harassment accusations.
The results of the sealed investigation into the employee’s harassment charges were delivered Monday by Office of Financial Regulation Inspector General Bradley Perry to the offices of the Governor and three Cabinet members.
Patronis is trying to get DeSantis and the other Cabinet members to fire Rubin at the next Cabinet meeting which is scheduled for next week.
Rubin insists he did nothing wrong and is being retaliated against by Patronis for not hiring a friend of a powerful lobbyist. Rubin has applied for whistleblower status with the state.
FDLE is looking into the possibility that Patronis or someone on his staff broke state law when the sexual harassment complaint against Rubin was published online two months ago. If Rubin’s claims are proven to be true, Patronis or someone on his staff could face first-degree misdemeanor charges punishable by up to a year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
“The fact that Jimmy Patronis’ office would release reports of sexual harassment allegations without a victim’s consent shows clear misconduct, and if the intention was purely political, makes it crimininal,” said Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo. “The system is rigged against the victim, to silence them and make them fear coming forward, and this type of action only perpetuates a broken system.
Rubin insists the harassment case was merely a misunderstanding. He claims Patronis was trying to push him out of his job after he wouldn’t hire a powerful lobbyist’s friend. He has requested whistleblower protection in the case.