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Investigation into Florida’s unemployment system underway

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The investigation into why Florida paid more than $77 million for an unemployment technology system that hasn’t worked properly since the beginning in 2013 is underway.

The Florida Inspector General is looking at documents and is asking for patience.

Gov. Ron DeSantis first called for an investigation into the failed unemployment system on May 1.

“The way it was done was not worth the amount of money that was put in. I’ve not found a single person who has said its worth it,” said DeSantis.

Since then, Inspector General Melinda Miguel has been pulling documents.

“One of the things we’re looking at is whether this particular project was designed properly, tested properly and designed with appropriate capacity. We want to provide a historical look back, going all the way back to 2007,” said Miguel.

That year the state spent $1 million on a study to replace its aging system.

Four years later, work began on what was then a $39 million contract.

Seventeen amendments later, it ballooned to a $77 million project.

“We want to follow all of the money,” said Miguel.

Florida Democrats also want an independent legislative investigation.

Democrats like State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez have said the investigation must go beyond the failed technology and the past administration.

“We should take a wholesale look at the damage done to the entire state, including employers and employees who rely on the system,” said Rodriguez.

Miguel told us she will have a better idea of where the investigation is going in about a month.

“There are a lot of people out there hurting. Florida families need the State of Florida right now at a time like no other. And I think we’ll get to the bottom of this,” said Miguel.

But no investigation is going to speed up payments to the thousands still waiting.

As of Thursday morning, more than 338,000 thousand people were still waiting for a determination on the validity of their claims.

Another 33,000 who have been deemed eligible are still waiting for their first check.