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Friday, December 01, 2023

DeSantis appoints home developer Patrick Zalupski as new UF trustee

Zalupski’s company donated $150,000 to DeSantis-affiliated political committee

Gov. Ron DeSantis looks down at his notes as he speaks to a crowd of reporters in Surfside, Florida on Thursday, July 1, 2021.
Gov. Ron DeSantis looks down at his notes as he speaks to a crowd of reporters in Surfside, Florida on Thursday, July 1, 2021.

Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed businessperson and Republican Party donor Patrick Zalupski to the UF Board of Trustees Thursday.

Zalupski is the co-founder and president of the real estate company Dream Finders Homes LLC and a member of the Northeast Florida Builders Association. 

Dream Finders Homes LLC donated $150,000 to the Friends of Ron DeSantis political committee since Nov. 2021, according to the Florida Department of State Division of Elections. The company also donated nearly $200,000 to other conservative political committees, according to Transparency USA.

Zalupski personally donated more than $3,000 to former president Donald Trump’s campaigns from 2016 to 2019, according to the Federal Election Commission.

UF spokesperson Cynthia Roldan referred The Alligator to the governor’s Thursday press release. Zalupski didn’t respond to a phone call as of Sunday.

The board comprises 13 trustees who act as the governing body of the university. Trustees set policy for the university and allocate its resources. Of the trustees, six are appointed by the governor and five are appointed by the Board of Governors; the student body president and the faculty senate chair are also members.

Zalupski will succeed former trustee Tom Kuntz, whose term ended in January. Kuntz was appointed in 2018 by former Gov. Rick Scott.

Zalupski is subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate before he formally assumes the role. The next Florida Legislative Session begins March 7.

Christian Casale contributed to this story.

Contact Alissa at Follow her on Twitter @AlissaGary1.

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Alissa Gary

Alissa Gary is a second-year journalism major who's covering K-12 education for The Alligator. She has previously reported on student government and university administration.  Aside from writing, she likes to take care of her plants and play (and usually win) the New York Times sudoku puzzle.

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