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CFO Patronis Calls on Senator Whitehouse to Be Transparent on Routing Taxpayer Money to Wife’s Company

4/19/2024
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Contact: Office of Communications, Communications@MyFloridaCFO.com, 850.413.2842
 
CFO Patronis Calls on Senator Whitehouse to Be Transparent on Routing Taxpayer Money to Wife’s Company

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis submitted a public records request to the Office of Congressman Sheldon Whitehouse related to the Rhode Island Senator’s recent interest in the solvency and stability of Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (CITIZENS).

CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “As Florida’s insurance market is seeing positive signs, all of a sudden a Senator from Rhode Island has taken special interest into the affairs of Florida. While we were taking steps to improve Florida’s insurance market, according to one ethics complaint, Senator Whitehouse has been bankrolling his wife’s environmental company and I’m concerned that Citizens may be their next target. As every one of his communications to Citizens has focused on turning over records and transparency, we hope he takes this information request seriously and practices what he preaches.”

Read the public records request letter below or HERE.

Dear Public Records Officer,

This letter constitutes a formal public records request for access to records regarding Citizens Property Insurance Corporation held by U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and/or his wife, Sandra Whitehouse.

Reason for Request: Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island has recently taken a peculiar interest in the solvency and stability of Florida’s insurer of last resort, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (CITIZENS). As Florida’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and a trustee over CITIZENS, I find the Senator's interest in Florida’s insurance market and the state-backed insurer especially alarming, considering a recently filed ethics complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee. The complaint urged the committee to investigate Whitehouse for potential conflicts of interest connected to his wife, Sandra Whitehouse’s consulting business. If the Senator is using his position to advance policies that allegedly funnel business to his wife’s consulting firm, this is not only a violation of Senate ethics and rules, but it undermines the reputation of CITIZENS, hinders their effectiveness in serving their customers, and puts policyholders in Florida in jeopardy.

Homeowner's insurance challenges have spread nationwide and are not just a Florida issue. As a part of this records request, I’m curious to better understand if the Senator has made similar requests of other states with challenging insurance issues, including California, where a major insurance carrier, State Farm, recently announced that it won’t renew 72,000 homeowners policies.

Lastly, I know you have expressed great appreciation for government transparency, so I know you will have no issues in providing these records in their entirety as quickly as possible.

Specific Records Requested: I am requesting access to the following records:

  • Documents: All documents created between Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and his wife, Sandra Whitehouse, regarding Citizens Property Insurance Corporation.
  • Text Messages: All text messages sent or received by agency employees between Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and his wife, Sandra Whitehouse, regarding Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. These text messages can be from government-issued or personally-owned devices as long as they pertain to agency business.

Public Interest Waiver: I am requesting a waiver of all associated fees for this records request. Disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in my commercial interest.

Preferred Format: I would prefer to receive the requested information in electronic format (e.g., PDF) if available.

Contact Information: Please contact me at the information provided above if you have any questions regarding this request.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this public records request.

Sincerely,

Jimmy Patronis
Florida Chief Financial Officer

 

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About CFO Jimmy Patronis

Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a statewide elected official and a member of Florida’s Cabinet who oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Patronis works each day to fight insurance fraud, support Florida’s firefighters, and ensure the state’s finances are stable to support economic growth in the state. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and X (@FLDFS).