In a memorandum reminiscent of those Gov. Rick Scott’s press team circulated when offended by media coverage, Patronis’ “Setting the Record Straight” attacked 11 “myths” he states have been “parroted by Rubin’s associates.”
TALLAHASSEE — On the day he was joined by Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet in voting to fire embattled Office of Financial Regulation Commissioner Ron Rubin, state CFO Jimmy Patronis took aim at “misinformation” and “outrageously false narratives” he claims surround the case.
In a memorandum reminiscent of those Gov. Rick Scott’s press team circulated when offended by media coverage, Patronis’ “Setting the Record Straight” attacked 11 “myths” he states have been “parroted by Rubin’s associates.” Several of the purported myths were excerpts taken from newspaper coverage of a very public feud between Patronis and Rubin.
Rubin was originally suspended, and now has been fired, based on charges of sexual harassment. The first “myth” the Patronis memo tackles regards a statement made by Rubin’s attorney that his client, while “informal or unpolished” at times, never did anything that rose to the level of sexual harassment.
The memo claims that the Office of Regulation’s Inspector General found 10 specific instances in which Rubin committed sexual harassment and another 13 in which he had engaged in conduct unbecoming a public official.
"Mr. Ronald Rubin’s actions as laid out in the Inspector General’s report are indefensible," Patronis said following Thursday's Cabinet meeting. "The claims that he acted in a way to repeatedly push and then cross the limits of professional behavior — and in some cases even human decency — makes him unfit for public office in the state of Florida."
Each incident of alleged misbehavior is detailed in the memorandum. The sexual harassment findings documented include:
Showing an employment candidate a photograph of a woman who had expressed personal interest in him.
Suggesting to an employment candidate his parents would pay him money to have a child with someone.
Telling subordinates that certain matters could not be discussed in front of women.
Asking a subordinate to remove her shoes to take a picture with him.
Recounting to the same employee the sexual history of a family member.
Telling the same employee that his parents stated they were very fertile.
Offering the same employee attendance with him at a Washington, D.C., conference.
Offering the same employee a key to his private home in Washington.
Asking a subordinate if the family dog watches the couple have sex.
Using the “c-word” in referring to a woman in the presence of subordinates.
The 13 instances in which the memo states the IG found Rubin had behaved inappropriately consisted primarily of enlisting state employees for duties that benefited him personally. The memo also documented instances of Rubin speaking derogatorily or inappropriately about subordinate state employees.
The memo also questions a media report that stated Rubin’s behavior made women “uncomfortable.” It states the IG noted Rubin did far more, and, in fact, “created an intimidating, hostile and offensive work environment.”
“Setting the Record Straight” also tries to set aside assertions by Rubin’s attorney, Michael Tein, that Rubin was protected from termination because no replacement for him had been appointed or he had gained whistle-blower status.
It also refuted Tein’s claim that Patronis should recuse himself from voting with the Cabinet, as he did Thursday, to fire Rubin.
Tein confirmed that he will continue to pursue various legal complaints he’s lodged on Rubin’s behalf.
"We intend to get to the bottom of this," he said.
Tein told the Associated Press the “Me Too” movement was being used “as a political bludgeon” against his client.
“This is not about standing up for Me Too,” Tein said. “Me Too deserves real respect. Every woman in this room, every woman in Florida and in the workplace knows (the movement) should never be weaponized for political purposes.”