FLORIDA CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER ALEX SINK'S WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
Volume 5, Number 20, May 16,
week wildfires ravaged parts of Central Florida, damaging property, homes
and land. A State of Emergency was declared on Monday, and the brave men and
women of the fire
service responded heroically. Because of their valiant efforts, countless
homes, buildings, and lives were saved. State Fire Marshal Alex Sink toured
the wildfire areas on Tuesday, encouraging state and local authorities to
continue fighting the fires while aggressively investigating the causes.
Fire Marshal Alex Sink dispatched eleven Fire Investigators and equipment to
the area to assist local law enforcement, Department of Agriculture Law
Enforcement, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in the
investigation of the wildland fires in Brevard County.
Investigators suspect arson in many of the fires and apprehended a subject
this week suspected in at least one case. Arson is a serious criminal act
that can destroy lives and property. Throughout the state last week, the
State Fire Marshal’s office held events recognizing Arson Awareness Week, in
an effort to inform and engage the public in fire prevention and
preparation. For more information on the role of the State Fire Marshal
OFFERS INSURANCE ADVICE TO FLORIDIANS AFFECTED BY FIRES
This past week as wildfires threatened homes in
Brevard, Volusia and Glades Counties, CFO Sink offered the following
insurance advice to homeowners affected by the wildfires:
If forced to evacuate your home, let your
agent or insurance company know your temporary forwarding address and
Keep all receipts for meals, lodging and
other expenses directly due to being evacuated and call your agent to
find out if the Additional Living Expense coverage on your homeowners
If you return to find your home damaged,
call your insurance agent immediately and make emergency repairs to
prevent further damage. Document the damage and repairs in writing and
with receipts and photos.
Maintain copies of your household
inventory and other documentation, including photos, to assist the
adjuster in assessing the value of the destroyed property.
For help contacting your agent or
insurance company regarding filing a claim, or to ensure that an
insurance adjuster you are dealing with is licensed, call the
department's Consumer Helpline at 1-877-My-FL-CFO.
Beware of fly-by-night repair businesses.
Hire licensed and reputable service people.
CFO SINK: PASCO COUNTY COUPLE ARRESTED FOR
STEALING NEARLY $200,000 FROM AN 89-YEAR OLD WOMAN
Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced
the arrest of a Pasco County couple for allegedly deceiving an
89-year-old woman out of nearly $200,000 and using it toward the
purchase of a million dollar home.
The couple faces four felony charges: grand theft over $100,000,
crimes against the elderly, conspiracy, and operating an unlicensed
and false entity as a conduit to defraud their victims.
“This is a horrendous example of two people who preyed upon a senior
who trusted them with her life savings,” said CFO Sink. “I commend
our insurance fraud detectives for their work in going after
criminals who defraud our seniors and bringing them to justice.”
John W. Morehart, 51, of New Port Richey allegedly approached
89-year old Mary Nusser as a licensed stock broker and convinced her
to invest in a hedge fund. At John Morehart’s request, Nusser signed
over a blank check which was to be invested in the fund. Instead,
the check was made out to his wife, Debra Morehart, 50, for $199,000
and deposited into the couple’s joint checking account.
Authorities believe the Morehart’s were aware of a prior settlement
paid to Mary Nusser, in the amount of $199,000, from dealings with
another insurance agent who sold her unsuitable annuities.
Over an eight month period, the couple wrote over $135,000 in checks
from their joint account, using the money for a down payment and
renovations on a $1.7 million Lake Tarpon home. The couple continued
to provide fraudulent monthly statements to Nusser showing a rise in
her investments, though no such hedge fund ever existed.
Neither of the Moreharts has ever possessed a securities license.
The department has information indicating John Morehart solicited
over 30 victims in Florida.
The Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud,
investigates insurance agents and agencies concerning violations of
the Florida insurance regulations. Anyone with information about
this or any other suspected insurance fraud is asked to call the
department's Fraud Fighters Hotline at 1-800-378-0445 or log on to
AMSTERDAM CONFERENCE FEATURES CFO
SINK ON BBC WORLD DEBATE
CFO Alex Sink was invited to attend
the Amsterdam Global Conference on Sustainability and Transparency, where
over 1,000 international thought leaders, experts and practitioners on the
topic of sustainability and transparency convened for three days of lively
discussion sponsored by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the City
of Amsterdam. Her trip was sponsored and supported by the non-profit
organization GRI. Climate change is topping the international agenda
and fueling debate about sustainability, particularly the role of business
in mitigating its efforts.
The diverse and engaging program culminated in a BBC World News Debate
that will be broadcast on the BBC World News channel this weekend ,
moderated by BBC presenter Nik Gowing. As a member of the panel, CFO Sink
discussed the financial risks of climate change for investors.
The topic: "How accountable is business?"
The World Debate asks whether companies, already forced to report on their
finances, should also have to reveal details of their impact on the
environment and society? How transparent do we expect companies to be and
can we trust them to come clean? Can openness and profitability go hand in
The panel : Alessandro Carlucci, CEO Natura; Gerd Leipole, Executive
Director of Greenpeace International; Maud Olofsson, Deputy Prime Minister
of Sweden; Sir Michael Rake, Chairman of British Telecom; Florida CFO Alex
Sink and Bruno Prior, Director of Summerleaze, a renewable energy company.
MY SAFE FLORIDA HOME PROGRAM NEARS 35,000 GRANTS
Program will continue offering free wind inspections until it reaches
goal of 400,000
Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink today announced that the My Safe
Florida Home (MSFH) program is projecting it will exceed the Florida
Legislature’s goal of approving 35,000 homeowners for grants by the end of
May. The first-come, first-served program will stop accepting new grant
applications at that time. MSFH will continue to work with homeowners
currently making improvements to their homes.
The MSFH program will transition to an inspection-focused program beginning
June 2008, offering free wind inspections for eligible homeowners until it
reaches the Legislature’s goal of performing 400,000 inspections or until
the program sunsets in June 2009.
"With hurricane season less than one month away, I encourage Floridians to
sign up for a free wind inspection to learn how to harden their homes
against hurricane damage,” said CFO Alex Sink, who oversees the Department
of Financial Services. “The response from homeowners has been overwhelming,
and I thank the Legislature for creating this program and allowing us to
enable more than 35,000 Floridians to make their homes more
Homeowners who have already received an inspection and meet other statutory
requirements may apply for a grant online at
or by calling toll-free 1-866-513-MSFH (6734). In addition to completing an
application online or over the phone, homeowners are required to provide the
MSFH program with proof of homestead and insurance for matching grants or
proof of homestead and income for low-income grants. Deadlines for applying
for a MSFH grant and the submission of these required application documents
are listed below.
|Grant Application Methods
||Grant Application Deadlines
||Saturday, May 31, 2008
|Apply over the phone
||Friday, May 30, 2008
|Mail proof of
homestead and insurance for matching grants
Mail proof of homestead and income for low-income grants
|Postmarked by Friday, June 13,
In 2007, the Florida Legislature directed the MSFH program
to provide inspections for at least 400,000 site-built, single-family,
residential properties and provide grants to at least 35,000 applicants
before June 30, 2009. To date, the MSFH program has approved approximately
32,292 homeowners for mitigation grants and has paid 6,930 grants totaling
more than $22.4 million. The MSFH program has also provided more than
222,981 free wind inspections. Participating homeowners receive a wind
inspection report, which suggests ways homeowners can harden their homes
against storm damage and informs homeowners if they are currently eligible
to save money on their wind insurance premiums. To date, 59 percent of
homeowners who have received a free wind inspection are eligible for
discounts on their wind insurance premiums averaging $217 statewide. For
additional information, log on to
CLYDE GASKINS RECOGNIZED BY
CFO SINK FOR FIFTY YEARS IN STATE GOVERNMENT
At this week's Cabinet meeting, Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink
offered a resolution honoring Clyde Gaskins, who has been a state employee
in Florida in the Department’s of Insurance, General Services and Financial
Services for the past 50 years.
Gaskins began his career with the State of Florida in 1958, in the former
Department of Insurance with a beginning salary of $225 per month. Gaskins
has outlasted 12 Governors and eight Insurance Commissioners. According to
the Division of Retirement, there are only five state employees on the
retired payroll who have had more years of service than Clyde.
During his many years in the data processing area, Clyde Gaskins has
observed significant innovations in hardware and software technologies, as
well as milestones in areas such as commercial applications and artificial
Serving the State of Florida with distinction, Clyde Gaskins has earned
the respect and admiration of his peers, his community and the State of
Florida. And, Clyde has no plans to retire!
CFO SINK RECOGNIZES PRUDENTIAL
FINANCIAL DAVIS PRODUCTIVITY AWARDS
At a meeting of the Florida Cabinet, Florida Chief Financial
Officer Alex Sink offered a resolution recognizing the
Prudential Financial Davis Productivity Awards, which honors
state employees who increase public service productivity and
promote innovative ideas.
Once a year, the Davis Productivity Awards recognize employees
who have gone beyond the call of duty to provide efficient and
high quality service. The awards promote innovation and maximize
service to Floridians.
This year marks the 20th year for the Davis Productivity Awards,
presented by Prudential Financial. Since its inception, more
than 12,000 state employees have been nominated for producing
$5.9 billion dollars of added value to Florida’s taxpayers.
Nominated state employees are eligible to receive cash awards of $250 to
$2,500, commemorative plaques, and certificates of commendation. Employees
nominated include, individuals, teams, work units and agencies that exceeded
their job descriptions and performance expectations in ways that improved
service delivery and added value for Florida taxpayers and businesses.
The following Prudential Financial Productivity Award members were
recognized by CFO Sink at Tuesday’s meeting for the Florida Cabinet:
- Dominic Calabro, President & CEO,
Florida Tax Watch
- David Smith, Chairman, Florida Tax
- Martha Barnett, Chair-elect, Florida
- Mike Jennings, V.P. Government
- Bonnie Basham, Awards Program Judge
- Paul Lewis, Jr., Progress Energy
- Clarissa Dunlap, Executive Director,
Prudential – Davis Productivity
- Diana Calabro, Assistant, Prudential –
Davis Productivity Awards
Prudential Financial, manager of $616 billion for millions of Americans
as customers in 30 other countries, has been the program’s continuing Anchor
For more information visit
Idea of the Week
Idea: Fight Leaks
Your expensive cooled air might be
leaking right out of your house through drafty windows and doors.
Your heating and air conditioning ducts are another way that cool
air can be easily lost, making your air conditioner work harder than
it should. Insulating and sealing windows and doors will save
energy costs in summer and winter months. Many air
conditioning and heating ducts may develop leaks over time. Have
your ducts properly sealed and insulated and you could save as much
as 10% in energy costs according to the Environmental Protection
Agency. If you think your duct system is leaky, have it checked out
by a Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning (HVAC) technician.
CABINET RESOLUTION ON BIKE FLORIDA AND 15 YEARS OF RIDING
At this week's meeting of the Florida Cabinet, Florida Chief
Financial Officer Alex Sink offered a resolution recognizing
Bike Florida, a not-for profit organization dedicated to providing education
and awareness programs, promoting bicycle safety and offering bicycling
opportunities for Floridians and visitors. Established in 1994, Bike Florida
encourages bicycling as an alternative mode of travel with the increased
awareness of climate change impacts and expense of individual
Bicycling is a low cost recreational activity
that can be appreciated at any age and provides an excellent physical
activity that increases heart health.
Florida’s system of greenways and trails, funded by preservation dollars,
allow bicyclists to utilize hundreds of miles of access in a safe and
aesthetically beautiful environment. Bike Florida is celebrating its
15th year of providing springtime week-long bicycling tours throughout
Florida with an emphasis on visiting rural communities.
CFO SINK ADDRESSES LAW DAY IN
Monday marked the 16th Annual Seafood Cookout in honor of
Law Enforcement Appreciation Month in Wakulla County. CFO Sink joined
Wakulla County Sheriff David Harvey, Wakulla Bank President and event
sponsor Walter Dodson, and local residents in honoring three law enforcement
officers for their excellence during 2008.
- Law Enforcement Officer
of the Year – 2008
Sgt./ Lt. of Road Patrol Ronald Cexton “Boonie” Mitchell, Wakulla County
- Correctional Officer of
the Year – 2008
Booking Sgt. Julie Martin, Wakulla County Sheriffs Office
- Citizens-Volunteers in
support of law enforcement for 2008
Sheriff’s Mounted Posse and the men & women of the Sheriff’s Reserve
Consumer Services Helpline