1. Opinion

Editorial: Florida's top banking regulator has to go

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis says the state's top banking regulator should resign in the wake of accusations of inappropriate behavior. He's right. But why didn't Patronis do his homework before putting this man up for the job?

Patronis' change of heart this week came after meeting with an inspector general investigating the accusations against Office of Financial Regulation Commissioner Ronald Rubin. Within weeks of getting the job, Rubin was accused of inappropriate behavior, including inviting an employee to his downtown Tallahassee condo and discussing his parents' sex life while at lunch. Two more people have come forward with their own stories, according to Patronis' office.

Patronis concluded Rubin should resign after reading news stories about the sexual harassment claim in Rubin's previous job. Apparently neither Patronis nor his office was aware that Rubin might have been fired from his job on a congressional committee over an accusation of sexual harassment, according to a source speaking to Bloomberg Law.

Patronis was the leading advocate in urging the governor and Cabinet to hire Rubin, whose agency regulates banks, payday loan stores and check–cashing operations. Patronis' office has yet to turn over public records about the background checks it conducted.

This is, at best, sloppy vetting for a top state official. If Rubin doesn't resign, it will be up to the governor and Cabinet to fire him.