FOOD FOR THOUGHT LUNCHEON
Our April Speaker will be Kevin C. Karnes, Clerk of the Court & Comptroller, Lee County. Clerk Kevin Karnes was appointed Clerk of the Court & Comptroller by Gov. DeSantis in March 2022 and was elected to the position in August 2022 by Lee County voters.
Kevin will be speaking on HB1419 – new legislation to help combat property fraud in our community, our property fraud alert service, the role of the Clerk’s office in local government, and other services we provide to the community.
Karnes holds a master’s degree in Legal Studies from American Public University and a bachelor’s degree from Florida Gulf Coast University. He is a long-time veteran of the Clerk’s office and has held a variety of leadership positions leading complex budgets, managing projects and implementing legislative changes.
As Clerk of the Circuit Court, Karnes is responsible for nearly 1,000 duties designated by the Florida Constitution and Statutes. The Clerk of the Circuit Court’s primary function is to safeguard the integrity of all court records. In addition to serving as the Clerk of the Circuit Court, the Clerk is the County Recorder and Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners, and the Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Auditor for Lee County. Karnes is responsible for managing and investing nearly $2 billion of Lee County’s tax dollars annually. The office also audits and pays more than $1 billion in county bills and collects an average of $50 million dollars in tourist tax annually.
Karnes is an advocate for protecting homeowners’ property from fraud. In June 2023, Karnes announced that Lee County had been chosen to lead the state with a Property Fraud Prevention Pilot Program. This initiative is a result of Karnes’ efforts to fight property fraud in Southwest Florida.
Karnes proudly serves on the Board of Directors of the United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades. He also previously served as a Guardian Ad Litem and currently serves as a member on a Florida Bar Grievance Committee.
Karnes' goals are to prioritize initiatives related to property fraud prevention, cybersecurity preparedness, increasing online services, and demanding government transparency and accountability.