For a man that has a full-time staff dedicated to fluffing his 41+ pages long Wikipedia biography with useless references to his non-existent combat experience, no one knows much about Ron DeSantis in his pre-congressional days.
In the next few weeks, we’re publishing a series of pieces that will bring forward the parts of the Florida Fuhrer’s life that he tried (and until now, succeeded) to keep hidden.
We started with the key ingredient in making a fascist ruler: control of information.
Because before we even start exposing the lies, our readers should prepare themselves for the onslaught of Twitter hate accounts that will attack them for sharing the truth.
Our next piece focuses on the making of the man himself, and the few years here and there that Ron DeSantis never wants to talk about.
Part II: A bad seed
A lot of wild and unsubstantiated theories about Ron DeSantis’ upbringing populate the anti-DeSantis sites across the web.
Without access to his family’s tax returns, though, a lot of those theories amount to nothing more than far-fetched accusations, like the one that DeSantis is connected to the Italian mafia based on this wikipedia article.
While limited with public information about his upbringing, along with a few investigative pieces and resources, here is what we do know about DeSantis and how he was raised.
DeSantis’ father never hid his racism, calling President Obama a “cop-hating terrorist” and regularly espousing hatred toward African Americans.
DeSantis’ racist father also posts about his hatred toward women regularly, including one post that showed Hillary Clinton with the caption “Trump’s comments about women are deplorable except for the whores, sluts and bimbos who seduced my husband.”
Incidents of racism emerged early in DeSantis’ political career.
DeSantis even moderated a hate group page on Facebook so obscene that DeSantis deleted his entire personal account when his financial backing of and activity in the group’s content was exposed.
Being raised by a misogynist, racist, homophobic father certainly drives a lot of the unconstitutional laws DeSantis promotes.
Still, much of what DeSantis says about his childhood cannot be independently verified (that whole control of information thing), but there is no public information that contradicts DeSantis’ more-or-less average Florida upbringing.
Yet, the middle-class-ish Ron DeSantis got himself into Yale, graduated with a law degree from Harvard, and managed to scrape through a victory in a crowded 2012 congressional primary.
Even DeSantis’ college years read like a contradiction of a man not sure how to fit in, but desperate to create self-import.
A mediocre baseball player, DeSantis got into Yale on a sports scholarship but graduated with no honors, awards or accolades.
Despite his lackluster academic career and his less-than-elite upbringing, he joined two of the most notorious secret societies at the University - including St. Elmo Hall (Skull and Bones).
A group of ardently anti-British internet sleuths (use caution with these guys, but they did bring receipts for this bit) found the records listing DeSantis under “notable alumni” for St. Elmo on both their Wikipedia page and their archive records.
However, the day after archiving the page and writing about DeSantis’ appearance on the list, someone removed him from the alumni list.
Then there’s the uncomfortable incident at a preparatory school that DeSantis once taught at.
The New York Times chased down former students from the Darlington School last year, where DeSantis taught a form of racist, revisionary history for one year.
One former student told the New York Times that DeSantis was hostile toward her and a racist:
“Like in history class, he was trying to play devil’s advocate that the South had good reason to fight that war, to kill other people, over owning people — Black people,” she said. “He was trying to say, ‘It’s not OK to own people, but they had property, businesses.’”
When a photo surfaced of DeSantis at a party with three underage students with beers in hand, DeSantis’ team completely ignored the ordeal to try to keep it out of the press.
DeSantis’ past brings challenges of its own for reporters, but that doesn’t mean the truth hasn’t been given its day.
The New York Times exposed DeSantis’ dark and sadistic history at Guantanamo Bay, where the then-JAG lawyer was sent to represent detainees and instead enjoyed torturing them.
DeSantis even had a sister who died unexpectedly and under a cloud of secrecy. Christina Marie DeSantis, seven years younger than her brother Ronald, died in 2015 at 30 years old.
Neither the existence nor the sudden death of DeSantis’ sister were ever even mentioned by DeSantis until January 2023 in a Daily Mail article - just weeks after I questioned the story to millions of people online.
The Daily Mail now claims to have a copy of her death certificate, even though my request for the document was denied due to not being immediate family. The certificate the Daily Mail published was certified in 2022 (she died in 2015) and says the cause of death was reported by her then-fiancé “without inquest.”
The salacious story includes details not revealed on a death certificate, however, including that she died “clutching” her fiancé's hand. There is no source, interview or verification of any of these details provided.
DeSantis has planted stories in The Daily Mail in the past to run interference on stories that hurt his presidential ambitions (he even had them fabricate a story about me in 2020).
Going further down the rabbit hole, the fiancé worked for the British Royal Family’s private bank (that anti-British group comes back into play here).
All attempts to locate, contact and verify that the fiancé is even still alive failed.
With zero social media, address or employment information available after 2015 for the fiancé, that’ll be a lead we continue to chase during our reporting.
And the cloud of secrecy only thickens as you continue on in DeSantis’ early career.
DeSantis and his handlers don’t discuss his brief time as a prosecutor. In fact, the entire period of his life has been scrubbed from his biographies online.
One of the 31 men DeSantis prosecuted in 2009, Corri Aurthell Moore, was arrested just last year for fraudulently obtaining thousands of petitions in support of a ballot measure to expand casino gambling in the state.
One of the measure’s most vocal supporters was Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.
Lenny Curry, if you’re not familiar, is the current mayor of Jacksonville and was close friends with the late Kent Stermon - the DeSantis ally and mega donor who committed suicide in 2022 while under investigation for sex trafficking.
Though not law enforcement, Stermon was given an access badge to Jacksonville’s sheriff's offices via Curry (who also named Stermon Citizen of the Year in 2016), which he used more than 700 times in the past five years to pull records.
Most of the records the sheriff’s office provided are redacted, with the exception of the date and timestamp of when Stermon accessed the records, though separate records requests have shown a few of the cases Stermon was interested in (including Corri Moore’s).
From what the records show, Stermon exhibited regular behavior in exploiting his access.
Every five or six days, Stermon accessed a handful of records for less than a few minutes each - enough time to check a file for something specific, or download it to an external device, but not much longer than that.
A few notable exceptions occur in the timeline when Stermon spent longer than usual reviewing more files than he normally pulled. Those dates included:
On April 26, 2018, Stermon pulled files early in the morning, then came back that afternoon to pull more.
On February 8, 2019 and March 1, 2019, Stermon reviewed records for hours.
From May 2, 2019 through June 19, 2019, Stermon repeatedly pulled records from the JSO Substation in Zone 3. That substation includes the area immediately around the JSO main office building.
We submitted a public records request to JSO for police reports, incidents and arrests in the Zone 3 area around those dates and we are waiting for the JSO’s response.
Stermon - who we’ll write a separate piece for later in this series - supported far-right candidates exclusively, with one exception.
The last federal campaign Stermon donated to was Jared Moskowitz, a Democrat who is close allies with both DeSantis and Matt Gaetz - both of whom, like Moskowitz and Stermon, were targets of the same sex trafficking investigation.
Moskowitz was appointed to the head of Florida’s Department of Emergency Management via his friend Matt Gaetz, who personally managed DeSantis’ transition team in 2018. When Moskowitz resigned amidst scandal that he played politics with the release of the COVID-19 vaccine to benefit wealthy Republican donors, DeSantis appointed him to the Broward County Board of Commissioners. Moskowitz then ran for Congress and pulled off a difficult victory, in large part owed to the vast amounts of far-right DeSantis/Republican donors (and also crypto scammers) Moskowitz received for his campaign.
To round out that circle, Corri Moore, one of only 31 people DeSantis prosecuted, wound up on the payroll of a firm connected to republican Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry to gather fake signatures for a Florida-GOP-backed ballot initiative to expand casino gambling in the state.
Moore was arrested for forging the petitions, and the firm claimed they only paid him for a period of two months and had "no idea" he was forging the signatures, but he wasn't the only person they hired who got caught doing so.
Kent Stermon, who DeSantis lived with for a time and was one of his few friends and biggest donors, was using his civilian all-access pass to the JSO's office to pull files on active cases, including Moore's.
Stermon killed himself later that year after finding out he was being investigated for sex trafficking in connection with the ongoing Joel Greenberg/Matt Gaetz/Ron DeSantis sex trafficking scandal.
Stermon committed suicide outside of a post office, which seemed like a bizarre choice of location, but made sense once a media agency claimed to have received a package from Stermon that was mailed the same day as his suicide. The content of said package have not been made public. It's unclear if any other packages were sent out.
And if the swamp seems like it’s thickening now, wait until we get into the two missing years between DeSantis’s brief stint as a prosecutor and his eventual run for Congress - during which time DeSantis was living at Kent Stermon’s apartment.