11 May 2011

The Author

Author of the award-winning book Finding Fernanda. Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism. Redux Pictures photographer. Read more here.


CCI Records, Released September 2, 2010 by DCF


On February 2, 2010, I filed another Freedom of Information Act Request with the Florida Department of Children and Families, asking for the licensing file on Celebrate Children International. On February 9, DCF sent me a 37-page .pdf with copies of CCI’s license from their founding in 2003 up until 2009. There were also some random notes and what appear to be complaints mixed in, at the end of the document bundle.

Downloadable Documents

Yet there were components that seemed to me missing. I interviewed a former CCI employee (and neighbor of Sue Hedberg) who had told me about how she’d called a complaint into DCF after allegedly witnessing her boss lying about company finances. There was no record of her complaint. I asked DCF about it, and on June 9, 2010, I made another FOIA request for “the whole enchilada” (yup, I actually said that), writing that I was requesting all “additional random work/notes etc. in the licensing file as part of my broader FOIA request into paperwork/ notes/ documentation/ all records of CCI investigations, licensing documents, and complaints… I need to make sure there are no omissions and that it is a complete data set!”

As it turns out, although the former employee thought she had made a complaint, it was treated by DCF as a licensing matter. On September 2, 2010, DCF Fedexed me another big batch of records, burned to a CD. The file on the CD was called “Working Licensing File,” and contained fifteen bundles of documents. They’re below, and I’ve left the original file names intact.

Downloadable Documents

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