Whistleblower lawsuit targets hiring at Department of Elder Affairs
Leaders at the state’s Department of Elder Affairs circumvented hiring procedures and appointed an attorney with a criminal history at the urging of Gov. Rick Scott’s then-chief of staff, according to a whistleblower lawsuit filed in Leon County court.
Attorney Donald Bell was hired for the $98,000-a-year top-level post despite a drug conviction and two arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol, the lawsuit alleges. He was recommended by former Scott chief of staff Steve MacNamara, emails show.
The lawsuit, filed by former human resources employee Frances Brooks, says Elder Affairs secretary Charles Corley passed over other applicants and allowed Bell to skip key background screenings, shielding his record from other employees while bypassing safeguards to protect elderly people served by the agency.
Bell “was above the rules,” Brooks said. “You can see from these documents he didn’t have to jump through any of the hoops any other person would have been required to jump through.”