Commissioner Nikki Fried calls for congressional vaccine investigation, suspension of Vanessa Baugh

Published: Mar. 1, 2021 at 4:17 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

To keep up with the latest local news subscribe to our TV20 newsletter HERE and receive news straight to your email every morning.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCJB) - Nikki Fried is calling for an investigation into distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines in the state of Florida.

The Florida Agriculture Commissioner released two letters (that can be seen below) one to Chairman James E. Clyburn, Ranking Member Steve Scalise, and bipartisan members of the U.S. House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis and the other to the governor.

In the first letter, Fried encourages an investigation into possible corruption, favoritism in the vaccine distribution.

RELATED STORY: COVID vaccines to go to Florida teachers, police and firefighters; 175,000 doses of J&J vaccine expected

“Earlier this month, a “pop-up” vaccine distribution occurred in two affluent ZIP codes after “DeSantis … quietly contacted a campaign donor, a real estate developer whose company built Lakewood Ranch, a mostly Republican, mainly White master-planned community in Manatee County.” The distribution included a “VIP list” for vaccine access arranged by a local official and political ally of Governor DeSantis, now under investigation for potential abuse of power,” said Fried in the letter. “Since then, additional incidents have been uncovered. A “pop-up” vaccination at an upscale community occurred in Sarasota County, tied to a real estate developer who “gave $25,000 to the Governor’s political committee and served on his transition team” and who said that “he was contacted by DeSantis to help.” An additional Charlotte County “pop-up” vaccine distribution occurred “in a gated country club community where some homes are priced at more than $1 million” tied to the same developer.”

In the second letter, Fried asks Gov. Ron DeSantis to suspend, Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh, who is under investigation for arranging a COVID-19 vaccine “VIP list.” A list which included herself and her family and friends.

“Baugh admitted to skipping the line ahead of qualifying Floridians under your executive order, a clear abrogation of her public trust,” she wrote. “I hereby request that you immediately suspend Vanessa Baugh from public office. I expect that, despite her being your noted political ally, you will do so with all due haste in the name of Floridians denied vaccines whose lives hang in the balance.”

RELATED STORY: Fighting COVID: Everything you need to know about where/how to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine in NCFL

Nikki Fried Letters by Jacqueline Franciulli on Scribd

Copyright 2021 WCJB. All rights reserved. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.