Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended Orlando city commissioner Regina Hill on Monday (April 1). The decision comes just a few days after she was arrested and charged with seven felony counts for stealing from and exploiting an elderly woman over the course of three years. Here’s what you need to know!

Who Is Regina Hill? 

Regina Hill grew up in Orlando and served in the United States Navy before working as a nurse for 25 years. She was elected as city commissioner of District 5 in 2014 and was re-elected in 2021. 

Source: Flickr/Valencia College

“I look forward to creating more partnerships that continue to benefit our community. It has been my honor to serve you, and I look forward to another four years where I can continue doing so,” she said in 2021. 

Ron DeSantis Issues Executive Order 24-63

On Monday, DeSantis issued an executive order that suspended Hill from serving as city commissioner. Her term was scheduled to end on January 12, 2026, but her future is now in jeopardy as she battles some very serious allegations. 

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

“Today, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 24-63, suspending City Commissioner for the City of Orlando, Regina Hill, in accordance with the Florida Constitution and sections 112.51(1) and 112.51(2), Florida Statutes,” DeSantis’ office said in a news release.

References Section In Florida Constitution

DeSantis’ office referenced a section in Florida’s state constitution that allows the governor to suspend ‘any elected municipal officer indicted for crime’ from office until he or she is acquitted of that crime. 

Source: Zerbor from Getty Images via Canva

It also gives the governor the ability to appoint someone else to the office for the period of suspension, which is ‘not to extend beyond the term unless these powers are vested elsewhere by law or the municipal charter.’ 

DeSantis Foreshadowed His Decision

Gov. DeSantis’ decision to suspend Hill comes as no surprise. In fact, he foreshadowed the decision before she was ever indicted for her crimes – saying it was ‘typical’ for an elected official to be suspended if indicted for a crime. 

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

“This is a target-rich environment, this state, for exploitation because you have a lot of seniors and you have a lot of seniors who are retired and have some income,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said several days before issuing the executive order. 

What Did Regina Hill Do? 

According to an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), Regina Hill was arrested for taking advantage of a 96-year-old woman and stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from her. 

Source: Flickr/Cityoforlando

She first came in contact with the woman in March 2021 through her position as a city commissioner. The woman was living in deplorable conditions at the time, but Hill coordinated the clean-up of the victim’s residence and other community resources. 

Hill Secures Power Of Attorney Over Elderly Woman

Within a month of meeting the elderly woman, Hill had already secured power of attorney over her – and that’s when the FDLE’s investigation took a wild turn for the worse. For the next three years, Hill repeatedly exploited the elderly woman for financial gain. 

Source: Flickr/Valencia College

Hill eventually gained access to the woman’s personal checking, savings, and credit card accounts – where she spent more than $100,000 of the woman’s money without her knowledge. Hill also renovated one of the woman’s homes without her knowledge, and used it as her own residence. 

What Felonies Is Hill Facing? 

Hill was eventually arrested and charged with seven felony counts – five first-degree and two second-degree felonies. Three of those counts were for ‘Exploitation of an elderly person,’ which is a first-degree felony. 

Source: labsas from Getty Images Signature via Canva

She was also charged with one count of ‘Scheme to defraud over $50,000,’ two counts of ‘Fraudulent use of personal identification information,’ and one count of ‘Mortgage fraud.’ She was held on a $40,000 bond and faces up to 180 years in prison. 

Special Agent in Charge Commends His Agents

On March 28, the FDLE released a statement that discussed how important it was for the public to trust its leaders – but confirmed that any officials who commit a crime against those they represent ‘will be investigated and held accountable.’

Source: Flickr/Matthew Christopher

“The public’s trust in its leaders is essential,” said FDLE Orlando Special Agent in Charge John Vecchio. “I commend our agents and partners whose work helps ensure that the people of Central Florida are protected.”

Hill Spent The Money On Luxuries and Gifts

Over the course of three years, Hill spent more than $100,000 of the elderly woman’s money. The money was spent on expensive bottles of perfume, clothing, numerous intravenous infusions of vitamins, a facelift, dental surgery, car payments, and a New Year’s Eve hotel stay.

Source: DAPA Images via Canva

The investigation also found that she ‘obtained a second power of attorney to purchase a home with the victim as the co-signor without the victim’s knowledge or consent, for a cost exceeding $400,000.’

City Commissioner’s Office ‘Remains Operational’ 

On Monday (April 1), Hill released a statement through her district community email reassuring her district that she remains committed to their well-being – despite being suspended several hours earlier. 

Source: Flickr/Valencia College

“As I navigate through these challenging times, I want to assure the residents of District 5 that our team’s commitment to your needs and well-being stands firm. The office remains operational and fully equipped to provide the support you need,” she wrote. 

Thanks Her District For Their Continued Support

Hill went on to thank her district for their continued support, and confirming that she ‘will wait for my day in court when I’ll be able to prove my innocence and that I always acted in good faith.’ 

Source: rabbit75_cav via Canva

“This support is a constant reminder of the strength and resilience that defines District 5, and it fuels my continued dedication to serving and uplifting every community member through these trying times,” she continued. 

Orlando City Council Preparing for Special Election

Since Regina Hill is being forced to give up her chair, Orlando City Council is preparing a special election to ensure the public has a say in her temporary replacement. They’re setting May 21 as a potential date for the election. 

Source: mattjeacock from Getty Images Signature via Canva

“Orange County is used to special elections. We just did one for our HD 35, and that was more on the eastern side of the county. So our office is prepared,” said Glen Gilzean, the Orange County Supervisor of Elections. 

Who Is Allowed To Vote For New City Commissioner? 

The special election would only be available for voters living in District 5 – which accounts for more than 20,000 people. Anyone who wants to vote by mail is encouraged to send in a request as soon as possible. 

Source: YinYang from Getty Images Signature via Canva

“Please go log on and register as quickly as you can for this particular election,” Gilzean said – adding that they’re expecting a high turnout, but are prepared either way. “So then that way they would be able to get that in an ample mail time.”