On February 2, 2019, a TSA officer died after jumping from a tenth-floor balcony at the Orlando International Airport’s Regency Hotel.
Before jumping, 40-year-old Robert Henry left a note with the following quote,
“Tell my managers I will be waiting for them in Hell. Especially the ones who feel this was necessary.”
– Robert Henry
An April 2019 report by Spectrum News shared that a number of Orlando International Airport employees felt that a pervasive environment of “bullying and retaliation” was to blame for Henry’s death, whom coworkers and management allegedly called “Lurch” behind his back; as evidenced by later audio interviews.
WFME recently released the results of a six-month intensive investigation into the allegations which they’ve entitled, TSA in Turmoil, which is available HERE. You can guess from the name that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.
Hot on the heels of the WMFE report is a story by Orlando Sentinel‘s Scott Maxwell, revealing that just this past week while Orlando’s attention was on Hurricane Dorian, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, via his state-appointed representatives on the Orlando airport board, were attempting to mount a coup.
The coup in question involved the appointing of an outside legal firm versus an in-house attorney, contrary to the wishes of sitting director Phil Brown. With current attorney Marcos Marchena leaving later this year, the board would need to advertise publicly the need for a new replacement. Read Maxwell’s full report HERE but the crux is that DeSantis appointed board members were attempting to appoint a lawyer they have ties with, without a public bid process, while being in contact with each other outside of the boardroom. Which is a complete no-no, a la Sunshine Law.
Two members of this same DeSantis posse were also behind a failed attempt this past May to force Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer off of the board, even though he’s not an appointed member and sits on the board because the City owns the airport.
It’s required by State law that both mayors sit on the board, so the board members in question had to file legislation to have them removed. It was removed the same day it was filed but not before setting off alarms with watchdogs like Maxwell that something was afoot.
Thankfully both Mayor Demings and Mayor Dyer put an end to the lawyer discussion but coupled with the recent TSA bullying claims, this board hullabaloo at the airport calls for continued public scrutiny.
Sidenote: Stories like this are great examples of why Orlando residents should subscribe to their local paper.