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Ex-Florida Gov. aide had $6,500 a month contract with state attorney Bain's office

Skyler Swisher, Orlando Sentinel on

Published in News & Features

ORLANDO, Fla. — A former top aide to Gov. Ron DeSantis landed a $6,500-a-month public relations deal with the Orange-Osceola state attorney’s office to handle communications work in the wake of Monique Worrell’s suspension.

Taryn Fenske’s company, TMF Communications, made $26,689 off the contract with State Attorney Andrew Bain, state records show. DeSantis appointed Bain to the post on Aug. 9.

Fenske has deep Tallahassee connections, having served as DeSantis’ communications director. She also worked as a spokeswoman for the Department of Education when it was led by Richard Corcoran, a former GOP House speaker and current president of the New College of Florida in Sarasota.

The contract, which went publicly unnoticed until now, started Aug. 8 and ran for four months when the office was transitioning to new leadership, Jason Gunn, a spokesman for the state attorney, said in an email.

“State Attorney Bain brought this communications agency on board as a very short-term, temporary solution to manage the influx of media inquiries, draft press releases and provide short-term communication strategies and training while the office found a permanent communications director,” Gunn said.

Fenske also struck a deal with the New College of Florida, which is undergoing a conservative overhaul headed by her former boss Corcoran. The college has been paying TMF Communications $15,000-a-month since last July to do marketing and promotional work, the Miami Herald first reported in February.

 

Most recently, Fenske has been “helping out” at the DeSantis-aligned Disney World oversight district, but she does not have a contract at this time, said Matthew Thomas Oberly, a district spokesman.

The district’s new administrator is Stephanie Kopelousos, another DeSantis ally who served as his legislative affairs director. She’ll earn $400,000 a year in her new role. The five-member, DeSantis-appointed board opted not to interview other candidates, citing Kopelousos’ experience serving as county manager of Clay County and heading the Florida Department of Transportation.

DeSantis recommended her for the job.

Last summer, both Kopelousos and Fenske left the governor’s staff to work on his White House bid, Politico reported in June.

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