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Lawmakers question Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence leadership

Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (Capitol News Service)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Three board members and two executives were on the legislative hot seat Monday as they explained both behind closed doors and in public how the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence came to pay its CEO $7.5 million over three years.

Melody Keeth, the former board chair for the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, was the first to be deposed. She spent roughly two and a half hours behind doors with the House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee attorney. She was mum afterward.

Former Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence CEO Tiffany Carr was paid $7.5 million over three years. She has since resigned. Committee Chairman Tom Leek, R-Ormond Beach, said he first wanted to hear from Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s inner circle on how that possibly could have happened.

“How is it that you have shelters that need more beds and at the same time you are paying an executive director that kind of money? That’s what I want to know,” Leek said.

In an afternoon public forum, Keeth admitted to signing memos without reading them.

“Can you explain why on earth you all thought, you thought, or you proposed giving Mrs. Carr more PTO days than there are workdays in a year?” questioned Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay.

“I was surprised that it says days and not hours,” said Keeth in response.

Keeth also raised the possibility of forgery.

"At some point in time, it became days in these memos, and I was surprised by that,” Keeth said.

Carr has yet to receive a subpoena. It is complicated by her out of state residence. Since the subpoena was issued by the Florida Legislature and not a judge, North Carolina, where Carr now lives, must agree.

Subpoenas for more records have also been issued to the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence and its foundation, which Carr is listed as its registered agent. Her private attorney has refused to accept the foundation because he only represents Carr.