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State’s top financial regulator fired by Governor, Cabinet

Ronald Rubin, the beleaguered head of the state’s Office of Financial Regulation, was fired Thursday by the Governor and Florida Cabinet after only five months on the job.

The firing, after a motion by CFO Jimmy Patronis, was supported by Gov. Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried withheld her vote, saying she wanted to delay consideration on Rubin’s continued employment till the next Cabinet meeting, citing public notice concerns.

For now, Rubin’s firing ends a brief saga that began with accusations of sexual harassment. That was followed by complaints by underlings of strange and inappropriate comments in the workplace, including asking an employee whether that worker’s dog watched that person and his or her spouse have sex.

Rubin’s attorney, Michael Tein, spoke briefly at Thursday’s Cabinet meeting, offering “an olive branch.”

“He has apologized. He has asked for forgiveness,” Tein told the panel. “He was trying to manage by making friends.” He asked that they “censure” his client, at the most, then “return him to service.”

Patronis, who oversees OFR, refused to accept the offer, delivering a sometimes emotional speech in which he took the blame for recommending Rubin in the first place.

Rubin’s actions are “indefensible,” he said. “The claims that he acted in a way to repeatedly push and then cross the limits of professional behavior—and in some cases even human decency—makes him unfit for public office in the state of Florida.”

Rubin was once an enforcement attorney for the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and worked at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), but had been a “self-employed freelance writer” for over three years before taking the job as OFR head.

The Office regulates banks, credit unions, other financial institutions, finance companies, and the securities industry.

DeSantis said next steps include a nationwide search for Rubin’s replacement.

This story is developing. 

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