The New York Times is reporting participants in OIC of South Florida jobs program lost money placed in crypto wallets furnished by FTX. REDBROWARD was first to report the ties between Broward County government and FTX, its founder Sam Bankman-Fried and his father Joe Bankman. Bankman-Fried’s aunt, Barbara Miller made all the introductions.
On May 12, 2022 in testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, Sam Bankman-Fried gave details about a partnership with OIC South Florida and Broward County government. Bankman-Fried told Congress he wanted to help “unbanked” citizens, people without a bank account. FTX would provide these people with “crypto wallets” backed by the now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange.
“Our bank the unbanked program offers those cut out of the financial system a free bank account and debit card linked to a crypto wallet. There are no fees, and no minimum balances. Transferring funds is virtually free and instantaneous and can be accessed on a phone. They can use it to receive money, make payments and build savings. There are no fees and no minimum balance,” Bankman-Fried said.
Three months later, OIC hosted a “Middle Class Summit” sponsored by FTX. It featured numerous elected officials and business leaders from across south Florida. Bankman-Fried’s father, Joe Bankman was one of the featured speakers.
Bankman and his sister Barbara Miller were the driving forces behind the FTX Hackathon and Crypto Summit which targeted students from Broward schools.
On Tuesday, the New York Times gave details on the role Joe Bankman played in FTX and the FTX Foundation. The reporters exposed how Broward residents lost money due the deal brokered between FTX and Broward County and OIC.
OIC CEO: “THEY WERE VERY GOOD TO US”
The New York Times reported Joe Bankman “leveraged family connections to expand FTX’s reach. His sister, Barbara Miller, works in Florida as a political consultant and introduced him to Newton Sanon, the chief executive of OIC of South Florida.” OIC SFL is a nonprofit organization that focuses on work force development training. It is funded, in part, by Broward taxpayers. According to the NYT, Barbara Miller did not respond to a request for comment.
The New York Times did speak with Newton Sanon:
Mr. Sanon worked with Mr. Bankman on a financial literacy initiative for low-to-moderate-income adults enrolled in education programs. As part of the collaboration, students who did not have bank accounts could open one linked to FTX’s platform, giving them the option to spend their money on cryptocurrency. Nobody was pushed to buy digital currencies through FTX, Mr. Sanon said, but one participant chose to do so.
In Washington, Mr. Bankman-Fried invoked the Florida program as he pressed for legislation to make the United States more hospitable to the crypto industry, testifying to a House committee that the initiative would help low-income people “build savings.”
After FTX collapsed, however, Mr. Sanon informed Mr. Bankman that some participants in the FTX initiative may have lost funds they had stored on the platform (including money students had received as a stipend for joining the program).
“They wired money in for us to be able to take care of students,” Mr. Sanon said. He declined to specify the amount that the organization received, but he said it was “substantial and very kind.”
Mr. Bankman used his personal funds to cover the losses, according to his spokeswoman. Mr. Sanon said that “none of us are happy with how this played out,” but that “those folks were very good to us.”
You can read the full New York Times report here.