Embattled leader of Florida domestic violence coalition to repay $2 million after scandal

Tiffany Carr, former executive director of Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, left, speaks at a news conference held by Gov. Jeb Bush, right, to announce a public awareness campaign designed to prevent disaster-related domestic violence, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2004, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Coale) (PHIL COALE, Associated Press)

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Office of Attorney General have settled pending civil actions involving the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV), its officers and directors and the FCADV foundation for more than $5 million, the state announced Thursday.

“Today’s settlement is a win in our fight to recover money that was intended to help families rebuild after facing domestic violence,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a press conference in Orlando. “This organization acted in greed, abusing state dollars meant to serve families during their most vulnerable times. I am thankful this injustice was righted today with the return of this money.”

An investigation found that former FCADV CEO, Tiffany Carr, over a three-year period received $7.5 million in compensation. The state filed lawsuits against Carr and the coalition and accused them of misusing public funds.

“For several years, FCADV and Tiffany Carr concocted to pay herself an excessive compensation scheme, millions of dollars meant to benefit domestic violence victims. When uncovered, this scheme threatened to disrupt funding to domestic violence centers,” said Attorney General Ashley Moody. “I am pleased that through these actions, we succeeded in getting rid of the bad management, dismantling the organization, implementing a new system to serve victims of domestic violence and recouping millions of misappropriated funds.”

“Florida taxpayers deserve full accountability and transparency,” said DCF Secretary Shevaun Harris. “The FCADV was deceptive with state funds, and I thank Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature for the justice served today. We will continue working to ensure survivors receive the care and support they need while remaining transparent with the Legislature and taxpayers.”

In early 2020, DeSantis ordered an investigation into the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence after reports indicated the officers of the non-profit were receiving exorbitant compensation and the Coalition failed to provide accurate financial records to DCF. The Florida Legislature then passed House Bill 1087 to remove FCADV from statute and to allow DCF to directly contract with providers.

DCF filed a lawsuit against FCADV, Carr, CFO Patricia Duarte, COO Sandra Barnett, and its board members, alleging breach of contract, breach of the implied duty of good faith, breach of fiduciary duty, fraudulent concealment, civil conspiracy and fraudulent misrepresentation.

In connection with the settlement, the FCADV officers and directors will pay more than $3.9 million to DCF and the receiver, including a more than $2 million payment by Carr. The FCADV foundation is required to liquidate all remaining assets and pay $1.1 million to domestic violence centers around the state.