Betty Griffin Center Supports State Investigation into Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Sees No Disruption in Local Shelter Operations and Other Services

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St. Augustine, Fla. (Feb. 19, 2020) – The Florida State House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee has revealed an alleged gross mishandling of funding by the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV).

The Betty Griffin Center completely supports the ongoing investigation into the coalition, that has revealed exorbitant compensation payouts, abuse of state dollars, withholding of information and breach of public trust.

On Monday, the Florida House issued subpoenas to 14 current and former associates of the FCADV.  The state-funded organization is under investigation for paying its former CEO more than $7.5 million over three years. House Speaker José Oliva ordered the employees and board directors to appear before the House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee on Monday, Feb. 24, for a day of questioning under oath.

The misuse of these funds directly affects the work that the Betty Griffin Center does to serve survivors of domestic violence, as regulated by the Department of Children & Families— the agency now tasked to oversee state funding for all 42 domestic violence centers in the state of Florida.

“We are feeling a sense of shock and betrayal,” said Joyce Mahr, CEO of the Betty Griffin Center. “These are millions of dollars that could have gone directly to helping survivors of domestic violence. Our agency completely supports the investigation into FCADV.  At the very core of our values are transparency, integrity and accountability. We are directly responsible for providing services that can mean the difference between life and death to those we serve. We take this very seriously, and we want to assure the St. Johns community that we remain focused on serving our survivors. There will be no interruption of services as a result of this ongoing investigation.”

Betty Griffin Center Board President Christopher Schmidt said the board and staff are grateful to the legislative leaders for working diligently to bring this injustice to light and for their continued efforts to ensure sound oversight of Florida’s 42 domestic violence centers, which had no voting rights on the appropriation of these funds.

“While this investigation generates temporary turmoil for the Betty Griffin Center, the staff and the Board of Directors promise to continue to serve the thousands of survivors we help annually,” Schmidt said.  “The ongoing findings of this investigation do not reflect upon the life-saving programs and services provided by Florida’s domestic violence shelters. The Betty Griffin Center will continue to bring survivors of domestic violence healing for now and hope for tomorrow. “

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