Gov. DeSantis appoints fundraiser, donor Yaffa Popack to FIU board of trustees

She and her husband hosted a fundraiser last year for DeSantis at their Miami Beach mansion. They've since given his presidential campaign maxed-out donations.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has named Yaffa Popack, a Miami Beach-based real estate investor who last year co-hosted a major fundraiser for the Governor, to the Florida International University (FIU) board of trustees.

The 13-member board is responsible for developing policies, implementing education programs, conducting performance evaluations and overseeing compliance with state standards.

Its members include six Governor appointees, five appointees by the Board of Governors of the State University System of Florida, and the Faculty Senate Chair and President of FIU’s Student Government Association.

All trustees except the faculty and student government members serve staggered, five-year terms.

DeSantis appointed Popack to the board Tuesday. The appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.

Popack co-owns and co-chairs Lauderhill Lakes-based YMP Real Estate Management with her husband, Moshe Popack. Last year, they hosted an event at their 10,000-square-foot waterfront mansion to raise funds for DeSantis’ re-election campaign.

Moshe Popack, whom DeSantis appointed to the Florida Development Finance Corporation board of directors in 2020, gave the Governor’s now-closed political committee $225,000 worth of in-kind contributions in 2022. He also chipped in $25,000 to the PC and another $300 to DeSantis’ campaign account through the real estate company.

Since DeSantis launched his bid for the White House, the couple each gave his presidential campaign maxed-out, $6,600 donations.

Moshe Popack has given $1,425 to the Florida GOP, $10,000 to the Republican Party of Miami-Dade County, $5,600 to U.S. Rep. María Elvira Salazar and $2,900 to U.S. Rep. Carlos Giménez.

In addition to their real estate work, The Popacks own and operate Neighborhood Farms USA, a self-described national nonprofit dedicated to promoting wellness and nutritional education through the development of community gardens and healthy food programs.

Last year, the couple opened a community garden at Palo Verde, a West Palm Beach apartment complex that is part of their company’s real estate portfolio.

Yaffa Popack is also a member of the Touro University board of governors. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and her juris doctor from Yeshiva University.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • My Take

    September 13, 2023 at 9:23 am

    Maybe no particular problem, but where is any specific connection to or value for FIU?
    What need is being met here?

  • JD

    September 13, 2023 at 9:24 am

    Nepotism. Cronyism. Grift.

    The true FLGOP mission statement.

    If you notice not a damn thing is said about how they plan to make the colleges more competitive, cheaper, more accessible to the populace of Florida other than to remove the “wokeness of purple haired transgender studies”.

    How about STEM? Arts? Innovation programs? Entrepreneur programs and/or collaboration programs? Creating startup incubators? No no – none of that – just woke rants.

    I ask for my fellow Floridians, where is the public service?

  • My Take

    September 13, 2023 at 10:01 am

    Exactly one century ago a famous author wrote a book on how the rich control the “message” of American universities. If you taught astronomy or math or such you were fairly free accademically. But if you taught economics or poĺitical science or history or (nowadays) sociology or psychology and more . . .watch out!

  • Earl Pitts "The Nation's Most Reveared Political Advisor" American

    September 13, 2023 at 10:06 am

    Great news America,
    This is great in so many ways. Best of all it shows all voters leaning towards Vivik Ramaswampy (because they love to vote for campaigns that have wacky sounding names associated with the campaign) that we also have a wackey someone named Yaffa Popcock on our team.
    This alone, America, is expected to garner us a minimum of 475,846 “Wacky Name Afficiando” additional votes we never could have expected prior to the Big Public Reveal that Yaffa Popcock is an interagal part of our team.
    Not saying that some voters are stupid or anything …. no America …. not like that at all America. (Remember we all are free to vote how we want to vote.) Just that 475846 additional votes are 475846 additional votes. We are taking them.
    ps to our compitition: maybe prior to the next National Election you should join the bidding wars to secure me, Earl Pitts American, as advisor on your “Sure Thing Winning Team”.

  • Pastor Pasta

    September 13, 2023 at 10:32 am

    Pure Quid Pro Quo corruption in plain sight. Just another day in DeSantistan.

  • Michael K

    September 13, 2023 at 11:04 am

    Slimey cronyism, alive and sick as ever in corrupt DeSantistan.

Comments are closed.


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