Tag Archives: Debbi Hixon

Broward School Superintendent Vickie Cartwright Finally Makes Statement On FTX Hackathon And Crypto Summit

Video courtesy of Chris Nelson

Broward School Superintendent Vickie Cartwright finally addressed the growing scandal surrounding an FTX Hackathon won by three Broward students. As REDBROWARD first reported in November, the 2022 FTX Hackathon and Crypto Summit offered a one million dollar prize to students from Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach schools. The prize was split between Broward students and students from an Alonzo Mourning school in Miami.

In November, FTX imploded after investors learned of accounting irregularities by founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) and his partners. Bankman-Fried was arrested last month by Federal authorities. Experts believe FTX will attempt to collect the prize money from the students due to alleged fraud by SBF.

The FTX Hackathon was the brainchild of his SBF’s father Joe Bankman. His aunt Barbara Miller organized the event with the help of Broward School Board Member Debbi Hixon. Miller is a Democrat political consultant with close ties to numerous School Board Members.

In an exclusive interview with REDBROWARD last November, Hixon confirmed each student received a $15,000 scholarship for winning the Hackathon. The $500,000 grand prize was deposited with an entity at Florida International University (FIU).

Last night at a Broward Schools town hall in Pompano Beach, activist Chris Nelson asked Superintendent Cartwright and Hixon about the FTX matter.

Cartwright read the following statement:

“The FTX charity hackathon was open to students from across south Florida. The competition was not organized by Broward County Public Schools and the District was not a recipient of any funds from FTX.”

But questions still remain.

Did any organization with ties to the District act as a “bridge” between the District and FTX. Did any of these organizations or foundations receive money from FTX?

Why did FIU get the $500,000 prize won by Broward students?

EXCLUSIVE: School Board Debbi Hixon Consulted Florida Commission On Ethics Attorney Before Taking FTX Role, Says Lobbyist Barbara Miller Handled Dealings With Broward School District

In an exclusive interview with REDBROWARD, School Board Member Debbi Hixon said she spoke with an attorney at the Florida Commission on Ethics about her role with the troubled cryptocurrency exchange FTX. Two weeks ago, REDBROWARD reported Hixon was paid for her role in the FTX Hackathon and Crypto Summit which provided scholarships and prize money to students. The event was planned and developed by Broward Democrat lobbyist Barbara Miller, the aunt of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried.

Hixon told REDBROWARD she wanted to create wellness centers at Broward Schools to help students with their physical and mental health. When she told her campaign manager Barbara Miller about this passion project, Miller said FTX was looking to fund charitable projects. Hixon said Miller set up a meeting with Joe Bankman, Miller’s brother and father of Sam Bankman-Fried.

While Bankman seemed impressed with the wellness center ideas, Hixon said preferred his own passion project—the hackathon. Eager to help students, Hixon signaled her approval of Bankman’s idea.

Hixon told REDBROWARD she was hired as the project director for the FTX event. She was paid nearly $50,000 for her role which lasted from June 2021 to March 2022. The Hackathon invited students from Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach to pitch ideas about “creating change, creating and maintaining non-profit organizations and making a positive impact.”

Hixon said all students received their $15,000 scholarships. The million dollar prize was split between two teams. According to Hixon, the $500,000 won by a team of Broward students was paid to entities at Florida International University (FIU).

Regarding her duties, Hixon said, “I was the contact person if [students] had questions, responded to all emails, received and screened submissions, and notified the winners.” Once the finalists were chosen, Hixon said she helped teams find mentors and organized practices sessions. Hixon said she was “part of the team that planned the Hackathon Finale event.”

Other members of the team included Barbara Miller and Miller’s brother Joe Bankman as well as representatives from Major League Baseball (MLB).

Since the FTX event included the Broward School District, Hixon says she sought a legal opinion from the Florida Commission on Ethics. After speaking with Commission attorney Steven Zuilkowski, Hixon decided to only handle logistics with Miami-Dade and Palm Beach schools.

Barbara Miller served as the “liaison” between Broward Schools and FTX, Hixon said.

Yesterday, REDBROWARD reported Barbara Miller worked for FTX.