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State files lawsuits against Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence to reclaim millions

Posted at 7:49 PM, Mar 04, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Authorities announced Wednesday the state is taking legal action against the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Officials are trying to reclaim millions in public dollars they believe were misspent by the nonprofit and its former leader.

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An investigation found coalition CEO Tiffany Carr was paid millions, while victim shelters under her group’s management were short on funding.

Attorney General Ashley Moody has filed a civil complaint in Leon County to reclaim some or all of the $7.5 million used to pay Carr in her final three years heading the coalition. Authorities believe much of the funds were state grant dollars which the CEO ordered top officials to redirect into her PTO cashouts and bonuses.

“What gathers us together is greed -- greed of a scandalous scale," said Attorney General Ashley Moody. “We allowed this person to take taxpayer money that was supposed to go to victims of domestic violence.”

The AG’s action comes as the Department of Children and Families files an additional lawsuit against Carr, her board and top executives.

In its complaint, DCF accuses the nonprofit of breaching its contract with the state to oversee and appropriate public and private dollars to 42 victim shelters. The legal filing says FCADV committed “fraudulent concealment and civil conspiracy.”

“We are working, similarly as the AG, to try and recover as much money as we can,” said Chad Poppell, DCF Secretary.

For now, criminal charges aren’t on the table for Carr or her associates, however, Attorney General Moody says that could change with time.

Moody has also filed emergency motions to freeze coalition assets preserving evidence as investigations of the organization continue.

“All options for further action remain on the table as a result of the products from these investigations," Moody said. "Miss Tiffany Carr should be very worried.”

The AG also says her legal action will help dissolve or completely reorganize the coalition.

For now, DCF has taken over the management of the nonprofit's shelters.