Former Orange County Property Appraiser Bill Donegan’s office improperly used a public record database to look up information on political opponent Rick Singh, an audit by Comptroller Martha Haynie has found.
The review looked at how the Property Appraiser’s Office used the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ database known as DAVE, or Driver and Vehicle Express. The audit found no major problems, calling Donegan’s use of the system as “adequate.”
But the review released Thursday also noted some searches in the office could not be justified or explained. Twelve were conducted that were not “specifically authorized,” the audit states.
Singh, who defeated Donegan to become property appraiser last year, said he, his wife and his campaign treasurer were among those singled out unfairly during the campaign.
“I cannot imagine what purpose or justification Mr. Donegan or his staff would have had for using high-level government resources to search either me or my wife.” Singh said in a statement. “The fact that it took place during an election year, that they obtained our address, drivers licenses and Social Security numbers, and did so while I was running against the very person whose office conducted the search, raises some serious concerns in my mind.”