Official records show City Commissioner Regina Hill was using Orlando tax dollars during her out-of-state trip when she was arrested for public intoxication and disorderly conduct/disturbing the peace. This new information further complicates the situation for the District 5 Commissioner, as questions are being raised in the community about misuse of public funds and why a city elected official would be intoxicated to the level of arrest while using Orlando tax dollars.
It also appears the City of Orlando was attempting to hide these expenses, or possibly provide cover for Commissioner Hill. West Orlando News obtained the records through a secondary public records request, as the expenses were not previously produced by the City of Orlando when WON requested all of Commissioner Hill’s expenses during that time period. After a tip from within City Hall, West Orlando News then requested the expenses made by Regina Hill’s aide on her behalf, using a procurement card connected to the Commissioner’s expense account. Then the Alabama charges for transportation and Hill’s hotel stay were finally produced.
From the records obtained so far, Commissioner Hill spent $186 on Crown Limousine in Alabama from 6/18-6/20 and she was charged $1,203.18 by Curio Hotels in Alabama for a stay between 6/19-6/21. On June 19th, the Birmingham Police Department arrested City Commissioner Regina Hill with a booking time around 5:22pm. Commissioner Hill’s mug shot was taken at 9:50pm and she was eventually released from jail shortly after 11pm that night. According to the legal minutes, Commissioner Hill was not present for the Orlando City Council meeting on 6/20, she apparently appeared “via Zoom” from her expensive Alabama hotel.
The City of Orlando was unable to provide what authorization or approval was given to an Orlando City Commissioner using Orlando tax dollars out-of-state after being arrested. Mayor Buddy Dyer did not respond to questions about why he believes this is a justified use of public funds.
“Our city elected officials should not be spending Orlando tax dollars out-of-state to get intoxicated,” said community advocate Lawanna Gelzer. “Clearly, evidence shows she was in violation of the Florida constitution if she was misusing our tax dollars illegally, or if she was on official business while intoxicated. Either way, she violated the statutes and the appropriate authorities must hold Regina Hill accountable.”
In fact, according to Florida statutes, the Governor may suspend from office any elected or appointed municipal official for malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, habitual drunkenness, incompetence, or permanent inability to perform official duties. For Commissioner Hill, she seems in trouble for a few of those offenses. If she claims she was on official business, statutes also dictate: Whenever any elected or appointed municipal official is arrested for a felony or for a misdemeanor related to the duties of office…the Governor has the power to suspend such municipal official from office.
“Was the City of Orlando and Mayor Buddy Dyer protecting Regina Hill?” asked Gelzer. “Is this why they all hid this arrest until the local West Orlando News broke the story? Or were they waiting for budgets to pass? There are too many questions here.”
Some sources at Orlando City Hall also expressed concern about Mayor Dyer’s knowledge of the arrest. West Orlando News reached out for comment from Mayor Dyer, who is also a Democrat and currently running for re-election, on numerous occasions, but Dyer did not respond. The city spokesperson referred all questions directly to Commissioner Hill, who also declined comment.
“The appropriate authorities to investigate and handle this situation do not include Mayor Dyer or the City of Orlando,” Gelzer noted.
Gelzer has called on Governor Ron DeSantis to remove Commissioner Hill from office. Governor DeSantis is the only person with authority to do so per the state constitution. She has indicated that there are enough community members ready to launch a recall effort if the Governor doesn’t act.
“This is why leadership and integrity matters,” added Gelzer. She has also announced a press conference Wednesday, October 25th at Orlando City Hall where more about this new information related to Commissioner Hill will be announced.
If you have tips, concerns, or things the public should know regarding Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orlando City Commissioners, or City Hall, please contact West Orlando News – we do not name our sources unless they want to go public, but we will investigate Orlando City Hall.
MORE BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
Commissioner Hill also has a lengthy criminal history including more than 20 arrests before being elected to the Orlando City Council. After being elected, the troubles continued for the City Commissioner. In 2015, guns and drugs were recovered during a raid on a home she owned and her son was arrested for trafficking meth and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and another son was also arrested. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said at the time it had been conducting surveillance on Commissioner Hill’s home for months following reports of illegal drug activity. That property was also the basis of other legal problems for Hill.
In 2017, Commissioner Hill appeared intoxicated while recording herself on social media (video here), raising more serious red flags. Another bombshell complaint filed with the State Attorney in 2017 alleged affordable housing fraud by Commissioner Hill, which could have also been election fraud since Mayor Dyer’s City Clerk allowed Hill to qualify for office using a lease and power bills without her name on them to prove residency. In addition to many complaints about her behavior and possible intoxication in public, there are also numerous complaints about Commissioner Hill harvesting absentee and vote-by-mail ballots in Orlando elections, just like Mayor Dyer does.
Of course, it’s hard to forget when Orlando firefighter and local hero Joshua Granada was reinstated with back pay after he was wrongfully terminated for recording audio of Commissioner Regina Hill. At the time, local firefighters were called to the Penthouse Suite of the DoubleTree Hotel where Commissioner Hill was found unresponsive surrounded by liquor bottles and cigarettes. Reports were that Commissioner Hill became very combative and verbally abusive once she was revived.