State board inflicting pain on respected Jacksonville dentist
Imagine being stuck here indefinitely.

Dental office with dental chair, computer and dentist tools
Mellado seems to be driving the process to align with his own litigation.

Ever been uncomfortably parked in the dentist’s chair, just waiting for someone to come back and give you the verdict on that pain you’ve been suffering?

Well, just imagine you are stuck there … indefinitely. Nobody tells you if or when the appointment will end and what your diagnosis and prognosis will be.

If you’re Dr. Howard Fetner, you don’t have to imagine. The Florida Board of Dentistry (FBOD) is doing that right now to this respected Jacksonville dentist with a 38-year spotless record of service to his patients and his community.

Fetner is facing an FBOD probable cause hearing over conflict-ridden and unfounded accusations (more on that shortly). There is only one problem. The Board’s probable cause committee hasn’t met since April (its only meeting all year) and doesn’t have another meeting on the entire 2024 calendar. The full Board doesn’t even meet again until a week before football season starts and, meanwhile, Dr. Fetner’s remarkably clean career record remains unfairly in question.

If you think that’s bad, it’s not even the worst part.

Fetner is being sued in civil court, in a dental-practice-sale-gone-wrong action by another dentist who is … wait for it … the Chair of the FBOD and who is pushing the Board action against Fetner.

Here’s the back story:

Dr. Jose Mellado and his wife have sued Fetner in multimillion-dollar litigation. Through this litigation, Mellado is trying to regain control of a dental practice for which he and his wife were paid $24 million.

Shortly after that mammoth deal closed, documents and news reports reflect that Mellado and his wife launched a toxic campaign to sabotage the practice and its plans to expand. They reportedly swore and cursed at employees and even became disruptive during Board meetings, according to court documents. Ultimately, the Board fired Mellado as CEO and brought in Fetner to take his place.

Mellado sued and appeared to be relentless — but unsuccessfully — pursuing a vendetta against Fetner.

Part of that pursuit has been through the Board of Dentistry, where Mellado orchestrated trumped-up charges in what seems to be an effort to turn the tide in his floundering lawsuit. He tried to cover his tracks with a recusal, but according to court filings, he has still been communicating with the Board through his attorney, Edwin Bayo. This spring, Bayo was acting as the Board’s de facto investigator and was bringing new “evidence” to the Board about Fetner.

In other words, Mellado seems to be driving the process to align with his own litigation.

Mellado’s conflict is brazen and obvious.

The question is, what do current Board members know about this blatant orchestration and what are they going to do about it? Further, when will his actions bring enough embarrassment to the state that someone in Tallahassee decides Mellado’s weaponization of the respected Board of Dentistry has to stop?

Finally, how long is the Board going to leave Fetner in the metaphorical torturous virtual dentist’s chair without ending this sham of an investigation? This whole matter has groundlessly and intentionally hurt Fetner, his family, his practice and his community.

It feels like people with personal and political agendas are drilling decay and cavities into the process and fairness.

It needs to stop.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


  • Deplorable Pinellas

    June 12, 2024 at 7:19 am

    The state board shouldn’t even be involved in a civil matter. This doesn’t involve patient care or malpractice. Tallahassee needs to sit this one out.
    What’s next? HOA disputes gonna land you before your state licensing board?

  • Dianne Briggs

    June 12, 2024 at 2:33 pm

    This action by Mellado needs to stop. Dr. Fetner’s dental practice has been held in high esteem for 38 years. I am his patient. He has always treated his patients with dignity, compassion and his work is superior. He discusses the best treatment plan and makes certain we understand. His office staff and assistants are top notch. There seems to be so much conflict and dual monetary interests within the Board. Not professional. Shame on them!

  • Mrs. Olson

    June 17, 2024 at 4:13 pm

    This vendetta never seems to end. Mellado and his evil wife file a complaint every time the charges are dropped. When that happens, the offices are shut down and that scum Mellado and his wife benefit from Dr. Fetner’s misery and the misery to office staff and technicians brought on by them. The fact that this is allowed to continue is inexcusable. When is the State of Florida going to put a stop to this? Patronis has sent this to four different districts for prosecution as Mellado and his cronies boosted his campaign war chest to encourage Patronis to do just that. Talk about corruption.

Comments are closed.


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