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FL: Trouble In Health Care Agency

A former Florida beverage director’s lawsuit accuses two state agency heads of improperly intervening in alcohol enforcement matters on behalf of personal or political friends.

Steven Hougland’s lawsuit alleges misconduct by Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Chuck Drago and his predecessor, Holly Benson, the former state representative from Pensacola who now is secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration. The suit was filed in state Circuit Court in Tallahassee last Friday under Florida’s “whistleblower” law.

Hougland, who claims he was forced to resign, previously made similar complaints to the state’s Ethics and Human Relations commissions but they were rejected. Gov. Charlie Crist’s inspector general also investigated two of the complaints and found both unsubstantiated.

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