In August, Governor Rick Scott ordered an investigation into Citizens' executives, after published reports that they treated themselves to $600 a night hotel stays, first-class flights to Bermuda and liqueur and hair cuts on the company credit card.
Citizens has since fired it four person Office of Corporate Integrity. Now two groups and a state Senator say the deal smells.
"Four good people lost their jobs, were they were doing their jobs too well? These internal watchdogs were looking out for fraud, waste, abuse and even corruption," said Dan Krassner.
State Senator Mike Fasano in a letter to Rick Scott, says he was shocked when he heard of the firings.
The letter asks who will investigate problems at Citizens if the Office of Corporate Integrity remains out of commission.
Citizens' spokesperson Christine Ashburn, says the insurer stands by the decision to close the office, but agrees the timing raises questions. "We've got an investigation, the Office of the Inspector General reviewing expense procedures here. Hindsight is 20/20 we should have never made this change now. But the idea was really to realign the organization and to use these positions in a better way with forensic accountants to really investigate potential fraud and abuse.”
Governor Rick Scott also raised questions about the firing and the office closing last week.
At the time the Office of Corporate Integrity was closed, it was investigating 26 reports. Eighteen of those involved employees complaining about other employees, but the remaining eight dealt with complaints by Citizens' customers.