DeSantis-appointed county commissioner resigns after alleged Ku Klux Klan picture emerges

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Gadsden County Commissioner appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis abruptly resigned last week after pictures allegedly showing him in a Ku Klux Klan outfit started to circulate, according to Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young.

Young said that the pictures were brought to him last Tuesday and multiple people told him the pictures were of Gadsden County Commissioner Jeff Moore. He said when he approached Moore about the pictures, Moore did not deny it was him.

“He never denied at all. Refuted nothing when I showed him the pictures,” Young said in an interview. Young, who is Black, endorsed DeSantis. “I thought he needed to resign, and I told him that.”

Moore, a Republican, was appointed by DeSantis to serve as commissioner in early August. The governor’s office confirmed on Monday that Moore resigned last week, but said they did not know why.

“We are in the middle of hurricane prep, I’m not aware of the photo you sent but Jeff did submit his resignation last week,” said Taryn Fenske, DeSantis’ communications director.

On Monday, Moore said he was in the middle of preparations for Hurricane Ian and would reach out on Tuesday or Wednesday. He has since not responded to multiple requests seeking comment.

The pictures began to circulate in Gadsden County in recent weeks and made them to Young’s desk last Tuesday by a group of people from the county.

“That was the first time I had seen them or started having to deal with it,” he said. “He told me it was a costume.”

Gadsden County is located in rural North Florida along the Georgia border and has a Black population of 55 percent, one of the highest in the state. When DeSantis appointed Moore he was the only non-Black member of the county commission.

“I’m not surprised Gov. DeSantis would appoint someone with this ideology,” said president of the NAACP Tallahassee Chapter Mutaqee Akbar. “Even if they didn’t know about the picture, it’s the kind of person I can see him picking.”