Dear Fellow Floridians:
Today, I was very pleased to announce our department’s latest audit of state contracts revealed a 14 percent improvement in state contract accountability. This significant improvement follows reforms our office began implementing in 2011 to audit state contracts, train state agencies how to write stronger contracts and make state contracts available online for taxpayers to read and scrutinize.
By raising the standards by which we write and judge state contracts, we can potentially save our state millions of dollars every year. Clear deliverables and performance measures in contracts are critical to ensuring there are no misunderstandings about how they should be fulfilled. Additionally, making contracts available for all taxpayers to see and review helps increase accountability while also keeping taxpayers informed about how their money is being spent.
There is still much more work to be done, but I am proud of the tremendous progress we are making. Since 2011, our department has trained more than 7,500 contract managers and implemented several new processes to review and audit contract and grant agreements, as well as review the files of agencies’ contract managers.
Contract reviews are a collaborative effort between our auditors and all state agencies, and I am encouraged by the support we have received from other agencies’ contract managers to improve the contract writing process. The latest audit found that more than two-thirds of state agencies improved their rate of deficient, or poorly written, contracts. Strong contracts with clear deliverables provide assurances to taxpayers that their dollars are being used efficiently.
For more information about our contract audits, please visit our Transparency Florida website at
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida
CFO Atwater Announces Man's Arrest For Theft of Nearly $300,000 in State Funds
Florida CFO Atwater recently announced the arrest of Jacques Albert Calixte, owner and operator of the Haitian American Association against Cancer in Miami, for stealing nearly $300,000 intended to help screen Haitian American women for cancer.
"Stealing state funds intended to help prevent a vulnerable population of Floridians from suffering the consequences of cancer is unconscionable," said CFO Atwater. "I am proud of our investigators for their work to put this selfish fraudster behind bars where he belongs."
An investigation by the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Office of Fiscal Integrity found that between 2011 and 2013, Calixte provided fraudulent bank statements and payroll checks to the Florida Department of Health in order to receive payments. He also provided information about clients who never received treatment, complete with fabricated healthcare clinic reports.
Calixte, doing business as the Haitian American Association Against Cancer, was found to have spent as little as $16,000 for client screenings in 2011. Between 2012 and 2013, investigators found no evidence of expenditures for clinical screening or testing for Haitian American women as required by the contracts.
"When mammograms and early cancer screenings are matters of life and death for low-income women, stealing the money intended to save their lives is a new low," said Miami Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, whose office will prosecute the case. "Ending these thefts will mean that future funding will go to individuals and agencies intent on saving lives, not lining one’s pocket."
Miami Man Arrested for Stealing Nearly $1.1 Million in Insurance Premiums
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater recently announced the arrest of Carlos Gutierrez, the former president and owner of G.M. Underwriters in Miami, on grand theft and fraud charges after an investigation revealed he stole nearly $1.1 million in insurance premiums from seven insurance and premium finance companies.
"I am proud of our investigators for uncovering this fraudulent scheme that broke the law and the trust of everyone who did business with this company," said CFO Atwater. "Insurance fraud drives up the cost of insurance for all Floridians and it will not be tolerated."
An investigation led by the Department of Financial Services’ Divisions of Insurance Fraud and Agent & Agency Services found that Gutierrez directed his staff to divert insurance premiums between March and August 2012 to pay his own business debts. Gutierrez, his agency and top staff have been permanently banned from the insurance business in Florida. If convicted on both charges, Gutierrez faces up to 60 years in prison.
Florida Economic Briefs
Florida unemployment rate down; 37,400 jobs added in June 2014
Florida added 37,400 jobs in June, the largest monthly gain of any state in the nation. Florida’s unemployment rate was 6.2 percent in June, down 1.2 percentage points from 7.4 percent a year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate was 6.1 percent, marking the first time in 13 consecutive months that Florida’s unemployment rate exceeded that of the nation.
Source: Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
Venture capital investment rises 57 percent in Florida during Q2
According to the latest MoneyTree Report, $113 million in venture capital was invested in Florida during the second quarter of 2014. While the number of deals in Florida remained constant at 13, total venture capital investment rose by 57 percent; from $71,972,100 in the first quarter to $112,902,500 in the second. Nationally, $13 billion was invested in 1,114 venture capital deals during the second quarter of 2014. This marked a 24 percent rise in investment and a 13 percent increase in the number of deals since the first quarter.
Source: National Venture Capital Association
Florida's Bottom Line on Sports
Each year, Florida is host to more than 1,800 professional sports events as
well as thousands of other sporting games and tournaments statewide,
including amateur and college sports, golf, fishing and hunting, boating and
yachting, and motorsports. The innovation spurred by this, and the drive to
create the world’s leading sports systems, are responsible for the
development of new tools and technologies that better connect us, improve
our quality of life, and allow us to explore and experience sports in more
exciting, enriching ways. Inside the Spring edition of
Florida’s Bottom Line, you’ll find expert commentary on
the innovation and advancement happening within the world of sports right
here in Florida.