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DOH Fires Gung-ho Inspector

WSVN-TV/7 News
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

It doesn't pay to be too good at your job if you're an investigator for the state Department of Health, according to a report on WSVN-TV/7 News in Miami. An investigator and his supervisor, both of whom were said by outsiders to be good at finding illegal activity in the health professions, are no longer employed at DOH.

Christopher Knox says DOH ordered him not to cooperate with the State Attorney's Office in its prosecution of pharmacy owners suspected of drug trafficking and fraud after Knox passed the initial information to police.

Knox told reporter Carmel Cafiero that the DOH manual instructs employees to cooperate with law enforcement. Knox said he considered the DOH order "illegal."

Knox's supervisor, Frank Figueredo, says he resigned rather than carry out orders from above to block Knox from doing his job.

Knox showed the reporter an e-mail from the regional chief instructing him to break communication with the State Attorney's Office. The TV report does not name the supervisor who gave the order.

DOH headquarters refused a request to go on-camera, the reporter said, but sent an e-mail denying it gave Knox the order. The reporter said she could not get an answer to why the e-mail to Knox seems to contradict the denial.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.