Gov. Ron DeSantis has named commercial real estate executive Jonathan Satter to lead Florida’s Department of Management Services, he announced Monday afternoon.
Satter will now lead the state agency that manages state property and workers' benefits.
“With his extensive experience in real estate development and property management, I know the department is in fantastic hands and I am confident in his ability to use our tax dollars wisely and strategically in his new role at DMS," DeSantis said in a statement.
He was most recently managing director of U.S. operations for Canada-based Avison Young, a private commercial real estate services firm. He had his own company, WGCompass, from 1999 to 2013, when it was acquired by Avison Young.
In 2005, Satter was named by former Gov. Jeb Bush to the board of Palm Beach County’s Health Care District, a safety net health system created by voters.
He served on the health care district from 2005 to 2011. During his tenure, a couple of the taxpayer-funded district’s real estate decisions raised eyebrows.
In 2011, health care district officials decided to buy $4 million in land to build a new public nursing home, rather than use land the county was willing to give away nearly for free.
A Palm Beach Post investigation into the sale found it was sold to a group of investor’s led by the district’s own real estate agent. The agent was also friends with Satter’s wife, professional golfer Michelle McGann.
Satter told the Post that he had no involvement in the sale.
Also while he was chairman, the district bought an office building in 2009, in the depths of the Great Recession, according to the Post. When the district sold the building six years later, the district ended up losing $2 million on the deal.
Chief Executive Nicholas Romanello told the Post in 2015 that the health care district would be changing its real estate strategy.
“Special taxing districts should probably not be in the business of being big real estate owners,” Romanello told the Post.