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CFO Jimmy Patronis to Airbnb: Florida Needs Answers on Listings in Communist Cuba

6/13/2024
For Immediate Release: Thursday, June 13, 2024
Contact: Office of Communications, Communications@MyFloridaCFO.com, 850.413.2842

CFO Jimmy Patronis to Airbnb: Florida Needs Answers on Listings in Communist Cuba

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis sent a letter to Airbnb CEO Bryan Cheskey regarding the companies rental listings and business practices within Communist-controlled Cuba and possible profits earned from properties confiscated from Cuban Americans by the Cuban government. Airbnb was recently sued in Florida for listing property in Cuba confiscated by Castro decades ago.

Read full letter below or HERE.

Dear Mr. Chesky:

As the Chief Financial Officer of the State of Florida, and a member of the Florida Cabinet, I’m writing to you today with significant concerns related to Airbnb’s recent business practices within Communist-controlled Cuba. Florida’s ties with Cuba run deep, as hundreds of thousands of Cubans fled communist rule and settled in South Florida after the Cuban Revolution in 1959. Many of these families owned land, property, and businesses in Cuba that were confiscated by Fidel Castro’s Communist regime.

According to recent reports, Airbnb advertises approximately 35,000 properties in Cuba. One such property was recently the basis for a civil lawsuit in Florida, alleging that Airbnb unlawfully profited from it without compensating the original owners after Castro confiscated it decades ago. This makes one wonder how many properties Airbnb is profiting from in Cuba that are the direct result of the brutal actions of a Communist dictator.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time your company has made decisions that seem to run afoul of Florida law or common decency. As you’ll recall, Florida took action against your company in 2019, making it the first American company to be placed on a “scrutinized” list of businesses that boycott Israel. Moreover, in accordance with the Free Cuba Act passed by the Florida Legislature in 1993, Chapter 215.471 of the Florida Statutes prohibits the State Board of Administration (SBA) from investing in any institution or company domiciled in the United States or foreign subsidiary of a company domiciled in the United States, doing business in or with Cuba, or with agencies or instrumentalities thereof in violation of federal law.

This situation is alarming, and as the state’s CFO, I take consumer protection seriously. It’s my duty to protect the assets of Cuban Americans who call Florida home and ensure businesses are not improperly profiting off properties confiscated by the Communist Cuba regime. To better understand this situation and to help my office make informed decisions on this issue in the future, I would like a response to the following questions:

  • What, if any, efforts has Airbnb taken to pinpoint how many properties were confiscated by the Communist regime?
  • What, if any, efforts has Airbnb taken to provide compensation to the original owners of properties confiscated by the Communists?
  • Can Airbnb provide a claims process by which individuals who have had their properties confiscated by the Cuban government receive the lost monies from Airbnb or a revenue-sharing agreement where the rightful owner can receive the funds from their stolen asset?

I respectfully look forward to your reply to these questions by July 30, 2024.

Sincerely,

Jimmy Patronis
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).

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