Citrus Health Network denies violating compensation rules as probe continues

Hialeah, Fla.-based Citrus Health Network is denying allegations made by Florida's Office of Inspector General that the nonprofit used taxpayer funds to pay excessively high salaries to top executives, according to the Miami Herald

Under Florida law, community-based care organizations that receive state and federal funding to provide welfare services are barred from paying their executives more than 150 percent of what the state's Department of Children and Families secretary makes, according to the report. 

Citrus Health was one of nine organizations that appear to be paying their executives more than state law permits, according to preliminary findings from Chief Inspector General Melinda Miguel. 

Citrus Health, a child welfare agency, said the state did not contact it before releasing the preliminary report. The salaries for Citrus Health CEO Mario Jardon and COO Maria Alonso "do not come from state funds allocated to Citrus as the lead agency and are provided at no cost to the state," the organization said

A spokesperson for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told the Miami Herald that the investigation is ongoing and nothing within the preliminary report is final.

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