THE TALLAHASSEE – An inquiry into Ronald Rubin ‘s behaviour revealed that he had a “pattern of statements” about sex and intimate relationships with staff members that “had the impact of establishing an intimidating, hostile, and offensive work environment.” Ronald Rubin was Florida’s top financial regulator.
According to the Office of Financial Regulation’s Inspector General’s report, He violated the organization’s sexual harassment and discrimination policies by, among other things, offering an employee a key to his home in Washington, D.C., using the “c-word” in front of other employees, and talking to one employee about the sexual history of a family member.
Additionally, “By misusing his subordinates’ time and resources, Commissioner Rubin showed that he prioritized his own goals over the requirements of the wider public. Furthermore, according to the investigation, “he misappropriated his subordinates’ time, resources, and agency.” spoke to the staff in both one-on-one and group settings, without any care, politeness, or respect.
The Florida Cabinet, comprised of Governor Ron DeSantis, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, Attorney General Ashley Moody, and Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried, will now determine whether to remove Ronald Rubin. Uncertainty surrounds whether Ronald Rubin’s dismissal will be discussed in the Cabinet meeting that is set for July 25.
The news came as the Orlando Sentinel examined more than 5,600 of Rubin’s emails and found that, in the three months prior to his suspension, he dealt with staff morale and personnel issues, including rats in the Tallahassee office, spent more than $7,000 on travel and other expenses, and showed an unusual interest in a GOP donor’s desire to establish a credit union.
Ronald Rubin’s Office of Financial Regulation, which has more than 350 employees and an annual budget of $41.3 million and oversees the financial industry, regulates banks, and conducts financial crime investigations, is mired in a quagmire, plagued by low morale, high turnover, and instability at the top that has lasted for more than a year.
The emails, which the Sentinel was able to obtain through a public records request, reveal that Rubin racked up nearly $7,000 in expenses, the majority of which were related to travel to Washington, D.C., for conferences and meetings with lawmakers, as well as to OFR offices in Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. These expenses mainly included hotel stays, airfare, and rental cars.
Bernie Navarro, a Republican fundraiser and the head of Miami-based residential and commercial lender Benworth Capital, urged Rubin to have top OFR workers examine a proposal for a new credit union.
In an email to Navarro on March 19, Ronald Rubin stated, “I asked (Jeremy Smith, OFR Financial Institutions Director), to draught a detailed memo describing the bases for his conclusions… so that your lawyers would be able to identify any potential flaws in his analysis that might unnecessarily prevent you from moving forward with your plan. If your lawyers disagree with Jeremy’s legal analysis, kindly let me know so I can judge who is right.
It’s unclear how Navarro’s credit union idea is doing. He didn’t reply to a Wednesday email for comment. He never submitted any papers to the OFR to begin the process, according to a spokeswoman for the organisation. Nevertheless, she added that she was not aware of any previous cases where a similar legal examination had been conducted.
Navarro is a seasoned Republican fund-raiser who oversaw the campaign’s finances for U.S. Senator Marco Rubio in 2016. Despite the fact that his prominence within OFR predates Rubin’s tenure, which started in February, emails reveal he frequently approached Ronald Rubin and other senior staff members for assistance.
According to the emails, Navarro scheduled a lunch meeting with Rubio and Rubin, invited Rubin to speak at Miami-Dade College, where he serves on the board, pushed legislation to further crack down on unlicensed lending, requested budget funds for a public awareness campaign of existing regulations against unlicensed lenders, and lamented the difficulties in establishing a new credit union, specifically the requirement for $8 million in equity.
Wednesday, Seth Gordon, Rubin’s spokesperson, did not respond to a message left with him.
Two employees from different locations, one in Miami and the other in Tallahassee, wrote to Rubin after he assumed leadership to urge him to improve the agency’s low morale, according to the emails, which were also made public. Sometimes, the senior management doesn’t support the “troops on the ground,” as they put it.
One worker wrote We have folks that care and want to change the world, one employee wrote.
Ronald Rubin attempted to deal with it, but he didn’t seem to be able to. Upon his hiring, five top-level employees left in just two months, but at least two of them were retiring. However, the report made public on Wednesday pointed out that 35 workers have left OFR since Rubin was hired on February 26.
One of those departing was Kevin Maslowski, a financial investigator who had authorised an arrest warrant in a Sarasota securities fraud case that had just gained attention. Maslowski resigned under the terms of a settlement agreement after learning that he would be dismissed for using homophobic and racial slurs in front of other workers, despite having received a warning for similar conduct in January.
In the letter dated March 15, Ronald Rubin admonished Maslowski, “You were reminded that you are expected to conduct yourself in a manner that will not bring shame or humiliation to the state.
The accusations against Maslowski are refuted.
Rodents, not leakers, were the problem Ronald Rubin’s and the OFR employees in Tallahassee had to deal with in 2019.
In an email sent on May 2, OFR safety officer Tammy Thomas noted, “We are having a mouse problem in the building. These were rats, an OFR spokeswoman said on Wednesday, without giving a number. She said the matter had been resolved.
Due to accusations of sexual harassment against him and his denials of them, Rubin is at the heart of a political uproar in Tallahassee that has resulted in numerous lawsuits.
Patronis, who initially campaigned for Rubin’s hiring, is now asking for his removal; according to Rubin, Patronis orchestrated the harassment claims made against him as retaliation for his decision to reject Kim Grippa’s application for the position of OFR general counsel.
On May 10, after receiving a complaint, Patronis suspended Ronald Rubin. The names of the alleged victims were censored from two further complaints that Patronis’ office eventually made public. The accusations came from two workers and one applicant for Rubin’s position as OFR’s general counsel.
Ronald Rubin, who makes $166,000 a year, was placed on paid leave while the inspector general looked into the allegations.
All of the accusations against Ronald Rubin were denied by him, and he said they were part of a scheme to have him dismissed because he refused to hire Grippa, the candidate for general counsel. Grippa is an acquaintance of Patronis’s and the ex-wife of a former Leon County commissioner.
Rubin claimed she wasn’t qualified for the position, but their accounts of their meeting disagree. Grippa claims that he was impolite and broached difficult topics like his parents’ past sexual orientation. She was untrained, unprepared for the interview, and had a haughty attitude that suggested she owned the position, according to Rubin.
In addition, Paul Mitchell, a powerful insurance lobbyist who assisted Ronald Rubin in landing the OFR position, had his text exchanges with Rubin made public. They demonstrate that Mitchell persuaded Rubin to hire Grippa and pushed him to leave before the sexual harassment claims became public. Mitchell even wrote a letter of resignation for Rubin to sign.
In a lawsuit brought last month in Miami-Dade Circuit Court against Mitchell, Rubin claims that Mitchell requested his father for a $1 million political donation to Patronis in July 2018, when the position was first advertised.
In an earlier version of this story, it was misrepresented how financial investigator Kevin Maslowski left the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. Maslowski resigned under the terms of a settlement agreement after being informed in writing that he would be let off for using homophobic and racial slurs in front of other workers.
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