Florida chief financial officer: Fire our banking regulator over harassment complaint

Florida’s chief financial officer, Jimmy Patronis, says he wants to remove the state banking regulator accused of sexual harassment at the next Cabinet meeting.

In a letter to staffers for the other two Cabinet members and Gov. Ron DeSantis, Patronis’ chief of cabinet affairs wrote that he wants to move to remove Ronald Rubin as commissioner of the Office of Financial Regulation and appoint an interim in his place.

“Mr. Rubin and his associates have publicly disparaged victims, and CFO Patronis is concerned of potential retaliation against victims and possibly other [Office of Financial Regulation] employees,” wrote Robert Tornillo, Patronis’ chief of cabinet affairs.

The next Cabinet meeting is scheduled for July 25.

Rubin has been suspended with pay since May, when Patronis released a sexual harassment complaint from an employee who said her interactions with Rubin forced her to hide from the commissioner.

Rubin has not denied the interactions, but said they were a misunderstanding. He’s filed a lawsuit claiming “pay-for-play” in Patronis’ office, and that Patronis is playing up the complaint to force him to resign after he refused to hire the friend of a Tallahassee lobbyist.

Both Rubin and a lawyer for the woman who filed the complaint have asked for investigations into why Patronis released the complaint, which was marked “confidential and exempt.”

In the wake of Patronis’ announcement, Attorney General Ashley Moody asked for an emergency Cabinet meeting to address the situation. But Patronis has not supported that idea.