Tag Archives: Hackathon

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.

Broward Democrat Lobbyist/Consultant Barbara Miller Worked For FTX

James Fox Miller Facebook post
Barbara Miller, center, with brother Joe Bankman at FTX event.
Sam Bankman-Fried, Joe Bankman and Barbara Miller.

According to her husband, Democrat lobbyist and Broward School Board whisperer Barbara Miller worked for the troubled cryptocurrency exchange FTX. Two weeks ago, REDBROWARD revealed Miller is the aunt of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried. Miller and her brother Joe Bankman played pivotal roles in the development of the 2022 FTX Hackathon And Crypto Summit which promised a $1,000,000 prize to Broward school students.

In a February 26, 2022 Facebook post, Miller’s husband, attorney James Fox Miller trumpeted news that Sam Bankman-Fried offered a $25 payment to residents of Ukraine who opened an FTX account. Then, Fox Miller confirmed his wife’s role in her nephew’s company. James Fox Miller wrote:

“Barbara is working for FTX and really enjoying it. Her goal in life has always been to leave the world a little better than she found it. Sam is doing it big-time.”

Two weeks ago, the new CEO of FTX announced the company was halting donations by the FTX Foundation Group amid “questions about legitimacy.” Marketwatch reported, “The senior staff of Bankman-Fried’s philanthropic FTX Future Fund publicly quit Thursday night, saying that the fund could no longer operate or process grants, and that they ‘have fundamental questions about the legitimacy and integrity of the business operations that were funding the FTX Foundation and the Future Fund.’”

What role did Barbara Miller play at FTX?

How much did FTX pay Barbara Miller?

What role did Barbara Miller play in luring Broward schools, local universities and government entities into the FTX web of “philanthropy?”