Rick Scott's Job Czar Hunting Deutsch Quits After Collecting Unemployment Benefits While Traveling Through Europe
Rick Scott tapped Hunting Deutsch to lead the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity earlier this year, a position some refer to as the "Job Czar." Which is kind of ironic, considering Deutsch hadn't been able to find himself a job for nearly three years prior to the appointment. After losing his job as an executive at Bank United in 2009, Deutsch signed up for unemployment benefits, but still had enough money to travel through Europe during his time without a job.
Today, he's officially sent in his resignation letter.
The Florida Current first reported the news earlier this month.
"I've worked for very successful companies for a long period of time and luckily sold all my bank stocks -- most of them at the right time, at the right price -- and quite frankly, didn't have to work," Deutsch, who owns two homes worth a combined $1.1 million, told the publication. "So my wife and I took time off and traveled a good bit; we were in Europe several times."
Despite this, Deutsch still signed up for unemployment benefits. Because Deutsch lost his job at the height of the recession, he was eligible to collect unemployment for a total of 99 weeks. He ended up receiving the maximum $275 a week for 91 weeks, and collected more than $25,000 in total, even though he was able to travel to Europe at the time. (The state currently ends unemployment assistance after 19 weeks). He collected the checks between 2009 and 2011.
Requirements to collect unemployment have become ever more strict under Rick Scott and since Deutsch left the government dole.
"I think it's really troubling that (Deutsch) took full advantage of the program when he was able to, but then turns around and denies people who have lost everything the ability to go out there and put food on the table," Florida AFL-CIO lobbyist Rich Templin told The Current. "What the governor's changes have done is take something that was at the bottom of the barrel and driven it into the basement."
Now, after a few weeks of controversy, Deutsch has resigned. It's the second time this year that the top economic job in Florida has been empty. Doug Darling was pressured to resign earlier this year. Deutsch eventually took over the job (his first since getting laid off from Bank United) in April.
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