Democrat political consultant and lobbyist Barbara Miller identified Broward School Board Member Debbi Hixon as part of her “team” that organized the FTX Hackathon and Crypto Summit in March. Last week, the financial world was rocked by the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange giant FTX. On Friday, REDBROWARD revealed FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is the nephew of Barbara Miller.
In March, Bankman-Fried sponsored the FTX Hackathon and Crypto Summit at the FTX Arena in Miami. The summit featured guests such as Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary and U.S Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). The Hackathon portion of the event invited students from Palm-Beach, Miami-Dade and Broward schools to compete for a $1,000,000 prize.
In an early March Facebook post, Barbra Miller posted a news release for the FTX event marked “confidential draft—not for distribution.” Eleven days later, attendees of event congratulated Miller.
After posting forty-seven pictures of the event on Facebook, Walter S. wrote, “tremendous congratulations and respect to Barbara Miller for helping put on the event.” In another comment, Jalayne W. wrote, “What a wonderful event Barbara Miller. Your an amazing coordinator, organizer and inspiration for all of us to do more in our communities.”
The next day, Barbara Miller responded to the posts regarding the “great event.” Miller wrote, “Thanks to the mentors, the FTX Teams, Debbi Hixon and my brother Joe, my team, for conceiving of making this happen for the students and our communities.”
One team of three Broward high school students won a $500,000 grant to fund their mental health application. According to the event literature, winning students also received a $15,000 scholarship.
Following FTX filing for bankruptcy and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried’s loss of billions of dollars, it is unclear if these students will ever get their rewards.
Late last week, a published report stated, “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.’”
“The group added, ‘We are devastated to say that it looks likely that there are many committed grants that the Future Fund will be unable to honor.’”
One person who did get paid was Broward School Board member Debbi Hixon.
On her 2021 financial disclosure form, Debbi Hixon listed $49,000 income from FTX in Berkeley, California.
In addition to relentlessly promoting 2021 and 2022 FTX events on her social media platforms, Hixon took center stage in a promotional video for the 2022 FTX crypto summit.
Hixon and Sam Bankman-Fried are shown awarding a big, giant fake check to Broward students.
Hixon would not be the first Broward School Board member who picked up outside employment with a company tied to Barbra Miller.
In October 2006, emails showed the very close ties between Broward School Board Member Beverly Gallagher, Barbara Miller and lobbyist Neil Sterling. Gallagher had been arrested on Federal corruption charges. The Sun-Sentinel documented the emails between Miller, Sterling and other Board Members.
“As lobbyists’ ties to the School Board come under increasing scrutiny from federal prosecutors, the e-mails give a glimpse into the relationships Sterling and Miller had with some board members,” the Sun-Sentinel reported. “Sometimes, they’re casual, like a note you’d dash off to friends.”
One email exchange discussed seating arrangements at Broward Education Foundation dinner.
A vice-president for Pirtle Construction sent an email to several School Board Members. According to the Sun-Sentinel, “Pirtle contributed $7,500 toward a four-year university scholarship, according to the foundation. It entitled the company to 10 tickets to the event.” None of Members reported getting tickets from Pirtle.
The FTX Hackathon was repeatedly promoted by staffers of the Broward Education Foundation.
Barbara Miller and Neil Sterling were lobbyists for Pirtle. Board Member Beverly Gallagher was one of Pirtle’s biggest cheerleaders on the Board.
In the October 5, 2006 New Times, Bob Norman wrote, “Gallagher has voted for Pirtle to build three schools in her southwest Broward district, about $120 million worth of business. Not only that but she sat on the selection committee and ranked Pirtle the highest over competing firms, helping to steer the work toward the company.”
Norman detailed the circumstances surrounding Gallagher’s part-time job.
“In 2002, Gallagher accepted a job with Community Blood Centers, an outfit based in Lauderhill that is the recipient of school board blood drives. Gallagher, who makes $39,000 on the public dime from her school board job, continues to work as ‘executive director’ of the CBC’s new scholarship program.”
Neil Sterling was the lobbyist for Community Blood Centers.
You can read the entire sad tale here.
Barbara Miller is a political adviser to Debbi Hixon. Did Miller help Hixon get on the FTX payroll?
Unfortunately, we couldn’t reach Barbara Miller. She just returned to her villa in Florence, Italy.