A whistleblower signed a sworn statement detailing troubling claims that expose serious security threats, election integrity concerns and potential felonies taking place under Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles. The affidavit was shared with the Florida Secretary of State and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. West Orlando News obtained the full sworn statement, which is included below.
Brian Freid served in a high-level position as Information Systems Director of the Orange County Supervisor of Elections before Supervisor Cowles forced him out of his job for raising local election integrity concerns. Despite Freid’s senior position, Cowles moved quickly to cover up the situation and to remove Freid from the Supervisor of Elections office.
Freid spoke exclusively with West Orlando News to first expose the security threats and potential felonies at Cowles’ office just before the election, but there could be new traction to the investigation now that Governor Ron DeSantis’ election investigators are on the ground focusing on Orlando.
The Supervisor of Elections whistleblower alleges Bill Cowles, a Democrat, is aware of unaccounted thumb drives of sensitive elections information, possible data exfiltration of confidential information, pirated software on Supervisor of Elections systems, a cybersecurity investigation stopped by Cowles himself, staff accessing emails of top SOE officials, and potential identity theft, among other serious security and election integrity concerns.
The affidavit is detailed and pretty comprehensive, and it definitely brings some troubling transparency to Cowles’ election operation. Because of Freid’s experience and knowledge, he was able to present multiple exhibits to detail the investigations he was conducting before Supervisor Cowles forced them to stop.
Cowles has told West Orlando News, through an expensive outside crisis management consultant, that election integrity is his top priority. That seems hard to believe when you look at the details provided by Freid. The public relations consultant, D’Anne Mica, has collected thousands of dollars after being hired personally by Supervisor Cowles even though he has an official staff, and she was also referenced in the affidavit.
These are serious allegations that question the election integrity in Orange County under Bill Cowles. When asked, Supervisor Cowles declined to comment through his consultant, who said he had not been made aware of multiple sworn statements being made against him at the time.
From the beginning of our investigation, Freid has made it clear that his only priority was serving the community and ensuring election integrity. Despite the retaliatory actions by Cowles to force him out of his high-level position for raising concerns, Freid is determined to expose the truth and bring transparency to what is happening at the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office. He is hoping for a full criminal investigation by FDLE. Cowles already announced he will not seek re-election again in 2024, but a full investigation could force Cowles to resign early.
West Orlando News also continues to investigate Supervisor Cowles’ office based on information provided by Freid, and we are currently working with multiple other whistleblowers who came forward after the initial reporting. This remains a developing story as we work to expose the truth.
That begins with this first 18-page sworn statement against Bill Cowles:
Orange County SOE affidavit-1