Committee hears what fired Citizens Insurance officials were probing

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Four investigators recently fired by Citizens Property Insurance had uncovered evidence of favoritism and other ethical problems at the company, according to a report sent to the insurer’s audit committee Friday.

The four fired investigators were part of the insurer’s Office of Corporate Integrity, which was recently disbanded when the company said its functions were being moved to other units. The Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald Tallahassee bureau reported Friday that the four investigators had been looking into large severance packages given to some top employees at the state-backed insurer who had been accused of misconduct. The four employees were investigating several instances of mishandling of investigations of sexual harassment, falsified documents and other improprieties the newspapers reported, citing the auditor’s report. The company said last month that its Office of Corporate Integrity was being disbanded because “it lacked the financial forensics expertise to identify and proactively investigate potential fraud and abuses.” The decision to close the office came not long after Gov. Rick Scott had called for an investigation into corporate spending at Citizens, which provides property insurance for more than 1 million Florida residents.

The four investigators who were fired were T.W. Smart, Selisa Daniel, Melanie Yopp and Meghan Walker.

Via The News Service of Florida.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.