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In better times: Jimmy Patronis meets with newly installed OFR head Ron Rubin. Image via Twitter

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Financial regulators try for sanctions in response to open records lawsuit

Records back Ronald. Rubin’s claim of coordinated efforts to oust him.

The Chief Financial Officer’s general counsel has requested a court sanction of the former chief financial regulator in an open records lawsuit he filed against the Department of Financial Services (DFS) and Office of Financial Regulation (OFR.)

The agencies, both headed by Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, claim Ronald Rubin’s complaint is specious and that they responded to his requests for documents in a timely manner. Rubin filed his open records requests in July and August of 2019. However, court filings show last November, his lawyer was complaining that DFS had not produced any documents responsive to his requests and instead sent ‘filler’ and duplicates.

In another motion the agencies filed this week, they point out they produced more than 8,300 pages of documents by the February 7th deadline, which was six months after the first request was made. They also want the court to strike allegations it says are immaterial and scandalous in a separate motion filed this week.

Rubin’s attorney, Michael Tein, also filed court documents this week in a different lawsuit Rubin filed against Patronis showing the CFO and Tallahassee lobbyist Paul Mitchell were in close consultation before Patronis illegally released a woman’s sexual harassment complaint against Rubin.

The filing points out that on May 10th of last year, Patronis and Mitchell called each other twice. Their last call ended nearly 20 minutes before Patronis announced he was suspending Rubin because of a sexual harassment complaint.

Patronis faces a criminal investigation by the Leon County State Attorney’s Office for disclosing that complaint and an ethics complaint for revealing another one.

Rubin is also suing Mitchell, alleging he and Patronis were engaged in a “system of blackmail and intimidation.”

Patronis has maintained he dismissed Rubin because of sexual harassment complaints.

Frank Collins, Deputy Chief Financial Officer, points to findings released last year by OFR Inspector General Bradley Perry that he says prove Patronis’ contention that he fired Rubin because of poor workplace behavior and judgment.

“The OIG found ten separate instances where he violated policy “prohibiting sexual harassment” which included “asking a subordinate employee if their dog watches the employee and their spouse have sex” and “using the c-word as a reference to a female in the presence of subordinate employees,” he said. The report also included 13 separate instances of “misconduct” that is “unbecoming a public employee.”

The Inspector General’s report alleges Rubin created an “intimidating, hostile work environment.” But it “did not substantiate” claims that Rubin requested sexual favors or made unwanted sexual advances.

Written By

Sarah Mueller has extensive experience covering public policy. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2010. She began her career covering local government in Texas, Georgia and Colorado. She returned to school in 2016 to earn a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting. Since then, she’s worked in public radio covering state politics in Illinois, Florida and Delaware. If you'd like to contact her, send an email to sarah@floridapolitics.com.

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