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Whistle-blower heads to court to win back state job

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in Hiring,Human Resources

Steven Hougland, former beverage director for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, has filed a lawsuit under Florida’s whistle-blower law, claiming he was effectively forced to resign because of corruption in the department.

The lawsuit accuses Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) Secretary Chuck Drago of hiring an unqualified friend for an Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco Division position. Hougland’s suit also alleges that Holly Benson, former DBPE head, improperly used her influence to benefit friends and political campaign contributors.

Hougland complained to Florida ethics and human relations officials and the state inspector general, but their investigations failed to uncover improprieties.

Hougland seeks reinstatement plus back wages and benefits.

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