Carolina Amesty reportedly under investigation by FDLE

amesty
The probe comes amid claims Amesty notarized a form relating to an instructor who said he didn't teach at the university.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) has reportedly launched an investigation looking into Rep. Carolina Amesty.

That’s according to The Orlando Sentinel, though Amesty’s campaign said the Windermere Republican has not yet been contacted by the FDLE.

The investigation comes after Sentinel reporting called into question representations by and about Central Christian University. Amesty previously worked as Vice President of the school, founded by her father, Juan Carlos Amesty.

Reporting by the local newspaper has included claims that Amesty notarized a form listing Robert Shaffer as an employee, though he said he did not work there. Amesty’s campaign said Shaffer taught at a K-12 school under the university’s business umbrella, something other employees confirmed in affidavits. Those employees also said he had memory issues.

The local reporting prompted a complaint by a citizen to the state calling for an investigation into whether Amesty as a notary violated the law by notarizing the work documents.

The newspaper reported the notary division of the Governor’s Office has also opened an investigation, and provided a letter to the complainant that said “the purpose of this investigation is to aid the Governor in the evaluation of the notary’s fitness to serve in public office.”

The Sentinel has also reported on a page of the university’s site claiming the institution had other employees with graduate-level degrees who did not work there. The campaign has said faculty forms submitted by the university to the state included potential faculty it was seeking to have preapproved for hire.

Amesty pushed back on much of the reporting.

“The Sentinel’s highly misleading story is the first I have heard of any kind of inquiry into this media-generated controversy,” Amesty said in a statement to Florida Politics.

“It is absolutely ridiculous for anyone to claim that Dr. Shaffer did not work at the school. We have provided the Sentinel with official records, photographs, and affidavits from his former colleagues confirming his employment. They have omitted this information from their articles in an attempt to drum up an inquiry against me, which I am confident will reveal no wrongdoing. The Sentinel’s conduct is simply outrageous.”

Amesty won election to the House in 2022 representing House District 45. That’s a swing district where 54% of voters in 2022 supported Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ re-election but where 52% of voters in 2022 favored Democrat Joe Biden for President.

She was previously sued by a legislative aide who said she wrongly accused him of trying to run her down in a car.

Amesty argued in court that she had absolute immunity for statements made while performing her duties, and that the allegation was not published and only made in conversation to the aide’s employer, Rep. Fabian Basabe.

A Judge ruled in Amesty’s favor in April.

The Republican is up for re-election in November, where she faces Democrat Leonard Spencer. She has maintained a fundraising advantage.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


5 comments

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  • Larry Gillis

    June 25, 2024 at 2:48 pm

    Please explain the alleged illegalities here. The article does not make them clear.

    I mean, usually a notary asks, “Do you swear …? and if the Affiant says, “I do”, then the seal is applied and there is a simple happy ending. I’m sure there’s more here (there always is), but the article doesn’t say. Thanks.

    • Just Facts

      June 25, 2024 at 8:05 pm

      The original article showed a picture or the alleged forgery, along with the professors regular signature and some handwritten document from Ms. Amesty. The signature she notarized looked more like her writing than the professors.

      The documents being nortarized where for a state application for her family run religious school.

  • Just Facts

    June 25, 2024 at 8:07 pm

    Why didn’t you mention the lawsuit that Ms. Amesty dropped vs the Orlando Sentinal.

  • Paul Passarelli

    June 25, 2024 at 8:38 pm

    Oh joy! Another witch hunt.

    Duties of a Notary Public are to verify that the person *SIGNING* a document is in fact the person they *CLAIM* to be , they do this by verifying that the person who signs the document in their presence has valid forms of *IDENTIFICATION* to establish *THAT* fact. That fact being their identity.

    A Notary cannot be required to verify the truth or accuracy of a document. That is ***OUTSIDE*** the scope of what is expected of a Notary Public!

    Even if the document says “This document is a sworn statement… blah blah blah.” The notary’s duty is only to test & affirm the identity of the signer. If the contents of the document are false, then the *SIGNER* is the person who committed perjury — Not the Notary.

    That’s the traditional role of a N.P. I also know that Florida law imposes additional restrictions on N.P.s where their act could & should be referred to counsel.

    I’m not fully cogent of how notarizing a form could be a violation of the Notary’s privilege. Other, than collecting a fee for a service that is not part of their lawful duties. If this was systemic, then certainly the Notary could be in real trouble, If it was singular & accidental, I believe the proscribed maximum penalty is revocation of Notary status, and being barred from reapplying.

    When I first came to Florida, I reviewed the criteria for both JP and NP licensing/certification as part of civic my duty.

Comments are closed.


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