Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo has already been under fire for failing to show up for work at the University of Florida. He’s already purchased a 5,000-square-foot property in Pinellas County, around 150 miles from campus.
Ladapo and his wife, Brianna, paid about $1.7 million for a property in South Pasadena, a small hamlet in South Pinellas County, at the end of June. The new four-bedroom, four-bathroom home was built just this year and is located in a posh area accessible by bridge.
A listing on Realtor.com advertised a private pool with 360-degree water views and a lavish wet bar. Photos display new architecture in a nice setting.
“The two large balconies provide an incredible setting to enjoy the stunning water views and unwind with outdoor relaxation and entertainment,” according to the property’s website.
The comforts enjoyed by a public servant receiving two six-figure salaries on the backs of Florida taxpayers may raise suspicions.
However, the site may cause much more uproar.
Property records show that Ladapo has not applied for a homestead exemption for next year, raising the possibility that the three-story house would be used only as a second or vacation home. However, it is clear that Ladapo intends to spend more time in Pinellas County, while academic colleagues in Alachua County complain about a lack of appearances there.
DeSantis appointed Ladapo as Surgeon General in September 2021, a position that pays $250,000. However, as part of the deal that brought Ladapo to Florida, he was also hired at the University of Florida with a salary of $262,000 and put on a fast track for tenure.
POLITICO recently reported that university officials expected Ladapo to bring $600,000 in grant funds formerly intended for his work at UCLA. The money never arrived.
The UF Faculty Senate formed an ad hoc committee to investigate the various inconsistencies in Ladapo’s hire, including a lack of screening of his credentials.
“In most cases, promotion and tenure decisions are made only with extensive records that include external review letters of scholarship, teaching evaluations, and other documentation to support the faculty’s decision that the candidate has met the criteria of distinction sufficient to warrant tenure,” according to the report. “It is unclear whether appropriate documentation was provided to the unit faculty before they were asked to take a vote on Dr. Ladapo’s tenure.”
Furthermore, many faculty members report that Ladapo is rarely seen on campus. Professors told POLITICO that he only came to school twice during his first year on the job.
Purchasing a property in Pinellas County, 157 miles from the Gainesville school, indicates no intention of increasing the frequency of commutes. The distance between his new residence and the University of Florida is, in fact, greater than the 149-mile journey from the university to the Department of Health in Tallahassee.