Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ affordable housing director has been suspended from his job less than six months after he was hired.
According to combined media reports, Michael DiNapoli, executive director of the Florida Housing Finance Corp., was placed on administrative leave last month. No official announcement of DiNapoli’s suspension was made and his department did not respond to requests for an explanation on why he was suspended. Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo’s office stated there were “personnel matters” within the agency and unnamed sources claim that DiNapoli created a “hostile” working environment.
DeSantis chose DiNapoli in February after the resignation of the previous director, Harold “Trey” Price, who was appointed in 2017 during Rick Scott’s governorship. DiNapoli was previously at the Florida Department of Commerce, formerly known as the Department of Economic Opportunity, where he was responsible for the state’s emergency bridge loan program. Earlier in his career, he was a vice president for Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and UBS Financial in New York City.
Since taking the job, DiNapoli Hugh Brown, the agency’s general counsel and chief ethics officer, and Sheila Freaney, the liaison to the board. Freaney’s attorney, Marie Mattox, claimed she was fired “after having blown the whistle on irregular spending practices and the use of the state credit card and/or her age.” Freaney has since filed a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Florida Commission on Human Relations.
Angie Sellers, the agency’s chief financial officer, has taken on the role of interim executive director.