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DOH Investigator Ousted in Dental Case

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Bay News 9
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

A Florida Department of Health investigator has resigned under threat of being fired following a complaint by dentist Michael Tarver, former owner of Polliwog Dental in Ocala, according to the Ocala Star-Banner

Mike Knezevich, a former police officer, investigated the dental practice on accusations from two employees that Tarver was rough on some of the children, kept their parents out of the exam room and altered medical records. Knezevich’s investigation led to emergency suspension of Tarver’s license to practice dentistry in September.

The Board of Dentistry adopted a settlement agreement that included a fine, some courses and Tarver’s promise to walk away from the practice. His wife, also a dentist, changed the name to Churchill Dentistry.

The two employees, who call themselves whistleblowers, filed suit against the practice. And Tarver filed a formal complaint against Knezevich, questioning his ethics and behavior on the Gainesville Police force and claiming the investigator lied on his DOH application.

In August a DOH investigator in Miami, Christopher Knox, was fired after violating an order not to cooperate with the Dade State Attorney’s Office in a case involving a pharmacy accused of drug-running. Knox’s supervisor, Frank Figueredo, resigned rather than carry out the order to get rid of the investigator.  

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.