Florida banking regulator suspended
Florida’s top banking regulator should resign after facing accusations of harassment and inappropriate behavior, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said Wednesday.
Patronis said that after meeting with an inspector general investigating the accusations, he’s now asking Ronald Rubin, commissioner of the Office of Financial Regulation, to resign.
“If I could remove Mr. Rubin from office myself, I would,” Patronis said in a statement. “But, this is a Cabinet-appointed position that would require Cabinet action. It should not come to that.”
But Patronis stopped short of calling for an emergency Cabinet meeting to discuss Rubin’s situation. Attorney General Ashley Moody asked for an emergency meeting soon after Rubin was placed on leave earlier this month, but none of the other three Cabinet members endorsed the idea.
Rubin remains suspended while an inspector general investigates claims of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior against him by employees at the office, which regulates banks, check-cashing stores and payday loan shops.
One employee was invited to Rubin’s home twice, the employee said, and ended up hiding from Rubin at work.
Two other people described inappropriate behavior by Rubin, with one claiming that Rubin bragged to staffers about hearing about the sexual exploits of Jordan Belfort, the so-called “Wolf of Wall Street,” when Rubin worked for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Patronis was the leading advocate to hire Rubin. But apparently neither he nor his office was aware that he might have been fired from his last job, as an adviser to a Congressional committee, over an accusation of sexual harassment, according to a source speaking to Bloomberg Law.
Since leaving that job four years ago, Rubin had not had a job until Florida hired him, with Patronis’ endorsement, in January.
Patronis said in the statement that he concluded Rubin should resign after reading news stories about the sexual harassment claim in Rubin’s previous job.
Patronis’ office has yet to turn over public records about the background checks it did on Rubin.
Rubin has declined to comment on the allegations, and his attorney didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.