A Leon County Circuit Judge granted a motion Thursday by Attorney General Ashley Moody to appoint a receiver over the embattled Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence Foundation and its assets.
“Today’s ruling will help ensure funds contributed by donors will be used to support the mission of the FCADV as intended,” Moody said. “Furthermore, the ruling advances our fight to hold former CEO Tiffany Carr accountable for the misappropriation of millions of dollars provided to the FCADV to help victims of domestic violence. We will continue to litigate this case to ensure justice is served.”
The ruling ensures that Carr will no longer have control over the assets and also permits Jacksonville attorney Mark Healy to continue as the receiver.
Healy will oversee the foundation’s $1.5 million worth of assets and real estate and will also be empowered to use up to $500,000 to pay creditors and help the state’s 42 domestic violence shelters with administrative costs.
The order brings resolution to legal action taken in March by Moody following a Florida House and media investigation into alleged misappropriation of funds and private donations by some members of the Foundation’s leadership.
Fueled by preceding media reports, a House investigation determined that while shelters across the state suffered from funding shortages, Carr received more than a $7.5 million salary over the course of three years as CEO. Moreover, Carr raked in more than eight years’ worth of paid time off.
While Carr’s lawyer, Chris Kise, described the allegations and fallout as “out of control”, House Speaker José Oliva described the testimony from the House investigation as “disturbing, scandalous, and unprecedented.”
“It’s one of the ugliest things I’ve seen in my time in the Legislature,” Oliva said in February following the testimony of a subpoenaed chairwoman for the domestic violence agency.
The FCADV was the sole-source private entity of the Department of Children and Families for nearly two decades until late February when Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a measure, HB 1087, to sever ties with the foundation, leaving the network of the shelters under the care of DCF Secretary Chad Poppell.
“The signing of HB 1087 marks a long-overdue victory for domestic violence survivors,” Poppell said. “For almost two years, DCF has been attempting to investigate FCADV and bring light to the organization’s dishonest, deceptive, and dismissive ways. Now, thanks to the dedication of our legislative leaders, we have the means to cut all contractual ties to FCADV and do what’s right for the brave Floridians who have survived domestic violence.”
On Feb. 28, DCF estimated that a competitive rebid for domestic violence services will take place in the next 12 to 18 months.