Citizens Property Insurance to report on watchdog firings

Nov 20, 2012

The following article was published in the Florida Current on November 20, 2012:

Citizens to report on watchdog firings

By Gray Rohrer

A day after Gov. Rick Scott directed his inspector general to look into the firings of four corporate watchdogs at the state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the company’s chairman wrote a letter to CEO Barry Gilway, asking for a “full accounting” of the firings.

Gilway fired the four members of Citizens’ Office of Corporate Integrity this past month, even though the employees were investigating instances of sexual harassment, large severance payments to those accused of misconduct and favorable treatment for employees who broke company rules, the Miami Herald reported last week.

“The Board of Governors needs a full accounting of the facts surrounding the OIA’s investigation and the restructuring of OIA and related personnel changes. I am particularly concerned by the questions raised regarding the timing of the changes made in OIA with respect to the investigation presented to the Audit Committee last week,” reads the letter from Citizens Chairman Carlos Lacasa.

Scott, responding to a report released by Citizens’ Audit Committee last week detailing the investigators’ findings, is also calling for further investigation into the firings. He directed Inspector General Melinda Miguel to look into the firings on Monday. There is already an ongoing inspector general investigation into lavish spending on hotels and dinners by Citizens officials on trips overseas.

“In light of this report, the timing of the firings raises new concerns. Given the appearance of impropriety, I request that you conduct a thorough review of the terminations to determine whether any of them were retaliatory in nature,” Scott’s letter to Miguel reads.

Gilway has defended the firings as a streamlining and restructuring of Citizens’ oversight and auditing functions under the Office of Internal Audit.

Citizens’ board of governors has dedicated an extra hour to their workshop meeting Tuesday to discuss the firings.

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