Mr. LaRoe and First Green Bank have also been honored with numerous industry, sustainability and business awards, celebrating their commitment to Central Florida’s economic well-being and expanding sustainability practices.

From 2010-2018, First Green Bank has been named a best place to work, a sustainable leader, and a growing company to watch by various award organizations. In the year leading up to its acquisition, First Green Bank won awards such as USGBC LEEDership Award, Inc. 5000, Real Lenders Impact Awards, Downtown Orlando Partnership Golden Bricks, Orlando Sentinel’s Top 100 Companies, OBJ Golden 100, OBJ Top Banks, OBJ Corporate Philanthropy Awards, South Florida Good to Great, and many more.

Every First Green Bank building was eco-friendly, boasting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certifications. First Green Bank was also a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), Sierra Club, U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Green Building Council, and the U.N. Natural Capital Declaration.

Additionally, Mr. LaRoe has been recognized for his personal commitment to excellence in sustainable business. He is a founding member of the North American chapter of GABV and was elected to the organization’s board of directors for a three-year term from 2014-2017. Mr. LaRoe was selected by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer to chair the Sustainability Committee for the Green Works Orlando Task Force in 2017, where he promoted better environmental initiatives throughout the city, such as energy-efficient buildings, green transportation, water conservation and overall livability. Mr. LaRoe himself is a LEED Accredited Professional. His family residence is solar-powered, and his mountain home became the first residential LEED Platinum in North Carolina.

Working to promote positive change in society, Mr. LaRoe has dedicated many hours to community service and spearheaded new initiatives that continue to make a large impact on people and their families. For example, Mr. LaRoe has been honored by the Lake County Board of County Commissioners with a certificate of appreciation for the many hours of service he volunteered to Lake County and its citizens.

Mr. LaRoe is an active board member for the Brain Injury Association of Florida. Inspired by Mr. LaRoe’s wife, a physician who suffered a brain injury during a cycling accident and found relief through her artwork, the couple founded the Art of Medicine Foundation. Through the foundation, Mr. LaRoe and his wife, Cindy, made it their mission to raise money for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of traumatic brain injuries. In 2015, LaRoe played an integral role helping host the first ever Art of Medicine Gala and has continued the bi-annual event to raise funds for brain injury research.

Individually, Mr. LaRoe has been recognized by his community for his outstanding leadership. Over the years, Mr. LaRoe has been recognized as: 2016 Central Florida Top 100 Leaders; 2015 OBJ CEO of the Year; 2015 Orlando Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful People; and he received the 2015 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. He also made the 2017 Seminole 100 list, 2014 Gator 100 list and was a 2015 Gator 100 nominee.

Venomous Emails from a Political Fundraiser

Sep 21, 2018

Venomous Emails from a Political Fundraiser

I sent an email to a political fundraiser I was hosting on September 22nd, 2018, for Andrew Gillum, democratic candidate for governor of the State of Florida.  I received the following venomous emails. After I received the writers’ initial emails, I responded in a manner that was admittedly provocative. These were the exchanges:


Gwen, Owner of a Marketing Agency, responded in this manner:

“I’m offended that a bank would send out an invitation to a political party fundraiser. Especially for a Democrat.  Have you checked your 401K recently?  Trump may be a wildcard but we are enjoying our new Corvette purchased from the growth he has generated.  Kindly remove my email.”

Ken’s response:

“Gwen, I couldn’t disagree with you more.  What is wrong with a Democrat?  Do you hate them just because of their policy positions?

Did you like your 401K after the Bush disaster?  My 401K was very strong when Trump took office.  It has actually not gone up much since.

On your Corvette, I’m glad you are enjoying it at the expense of my grandchildren’s future.  I really don’t understand how bright people like you can support a lying, thieving, bankrupt, hater, racist, misogynist, traitor.  Who is also a sociopathic mad-man.  This economic expansion is Obama’s expansion after he was handed the worst economy in our lives.  This Trump Bump is just a sugar high caused by selfish business people who actually think leveraging our future for short term gains is a positive.

I would love to have a civil dialog with you either in person or on the phone.  You seem to be a reasonable person unlike the guy who emailed me and called me a “Fucking Idiot.”

Gwen’s response:

“I am a civil person who very strongly disagrees with your opinion. I would never call anyone the name of the person who called you, but that doesn’t mean I don’t disagree with him. Our 401K was fine during the Bush years; maybe you didn’t have yours invested for growth.  Everyone is entitled to their own personnel opinion.  We do not choose our friends by their political party choice, but on things we enjoy talking about and doing together.  You would not be a friend.  I wouldn’t waste my time to have a conversation with you.”

Ken’s response:

“Gwen, that is a shame.  If you are not self-aware enough to even consider that you may be wrong on an issue, you are correct that you would gain nothing from speaking with me.  I was a Republican until I was 57 years old.  The party left me about 5 years ago.  With your and the Republican party’s authoritarian belief system, our country’s democracy is truly in peril.  I don’t know how old you are but you will witness the decline because it will be soon.  However, I’m quite confident you won’t even realize it because you will be smug in your bubble.

Oh, I love the new Corvettes.  I am a total car person having put myself through undergraduate school as a mechanic.

Additionally, you may believe you can’t be friends with anyone who has a more holistic world view than you but you can be assured I will never do business with you!”



Steve, Attorney who specializes in estate planning, responded in this manner:

Ken, We will not support a socialist.”

Ken’s response:

“Steve, what exactly is a socialist?  You Trump supporters are ruining this country.  It’s sickening.”

Steve’s Response:

“Ken, the Trump economy helped you get all that money on the merger.  You should be saying thank you. Ruining an Iran deal and climate deal not approved by the Senate?  You never-Trumpers can make no real arguments. I presume you think the FBI and DOJ that were ruined under Obama are honest agencies. Really!”

Ken’s response:

“Steve, how can you support a criminal, bankrupt, scum ball, racist, misogynist, treasonist, mentally ill scum ball?  He didn’t do anything for the economy. He inherited Obama’s economy.  All he did was get a misguided tax cut that will bury us in debt. It was all you right wingers who were singing that call that Obama and the Dems were going to bury us in debt.  WTF!  Can’t you guys make up your minds? Actually, we aren’t getting shit for our bank compared to my last bank.

Steve, we are never going to agree.  I’ve committed my life to doing good in the world and I’m on the right side of the policy issues. Sorry. That’s just the way it is. How do you think anything the Republicans are doing is going to help Global Warming? How are anything you guys doing going to help social equity.  Fuck man, in 30 years America is going to be a shit hole. We’ve already lost our position as the world power.”

Steve’s Response:

“Ken, you are a pathetic liberal. When asked to debate, you resort to ugly talk. So sad. Obama was on record saying 2% growth is all we can expect. That is fact, and not fiction. Most corporate CEOs agree that reduction in stifling regulation is a big part of the growth story.

Trump is not a criminal. Hillary would be in jail if not for the FBI and DOJ being in the tank. They have done everything possible to corner Trump. No results.

When did Obama supporters start talking about debt. Obama doubled the debt in 8 years. Never heard a peep from the liberals.

My arguments recite fact. You remind me of the old saying, if you have the facts, argue the facts. If you do not have the facts just argue.

You are right. We will not agree. I speak of facts, and like all liberals you speak feelings.”

Ken’s response:

“I didn’t call you a name Steve.  It seems to me that you are the one resorting to ugly talk.  It is amazing to me that smart people like you can say with a straight face that Trump is not a criminal.  Where on earth do you get your facts?  It is proven fact that the Golden Age of 4% growth is over.  This is nothing but a sugar high from a bunch of slime ball business people that only look at short term profits with no accounting for externalities.

By the way, what is a liberal?  Since when was being progressive a bad thing?  The opposite of progressive is regressive which is what you and your ilk propose in everything.

Steve, at the end of the day, we all want the same things.  I will debate real facts and real science with you all day long.  I hate to say it but you won’t win.  I may not be as smart as you but I study a lot.  And it’s not just antidotal evidence which you can’t even provide to support your positions.

But it’s ok.  I’ve spent the majority of my professional career underwriting risk and it has occurred to me that to do business with anyone who supports Trump is very high risk because it indicates an extreme lack of integrity and poor corporate governance.”

Steve’s Response:

“Ken, simply stated, do you think your emails are ready for publication.  A sad thing that you resort to such crass language.

Ken, your purported facts are not proven facts. Climate change is not proven.  Most of the studies have been refuted.  It is not proven that that the economy cannot continue to grow.  Send me those studies.

You continue to talk like a liberal.  Insult someone when cornered.

Obviously, you agree with Clinton’s deplorable comments.

Ken, your comments are full of hate for your fellow man, but you claim to be a man of high integrity.  Those traits do not go together.

I would point out that I have had many drinks with Christian Swann.  All enjoyable.  We probably agree on very little as to politics.  I would never resort to name calling as you do.

Ken, you need help.  Your emails would not stand up to public scrutiny.  Re-read your emails. You should be embarrassed.

Your comments to someone who disagrees with you say more about you than me.  I suggest you re-think how a person of high integrity should act.”

Ken’s response:

“Steve, I am really confused.  Have you re-read your emails? You are accusing me of exactly what you did.  Exactly.  That is the strategy of Bannon, Fox News, Trump and all the other science deniers and haters.  You accuse me of name calling and you are the one who called me “a pathetic liberal”.  As I said, “I’m really confused”.  Do you think by accusing me of what you did that I would believe I did it first?

I can’t believe someone as smart as you believe what you believe.  It is incredible to me that you deny climate change.  It is horrifying actually.  Tell me, what would it matter if the 100% of scientists that have proven climate change is anthropogenic are wrong?  What is wrong with reducing our dependence on fossil fuels especially our dependence on foreign oil.  What is wrong with protecting our water and air, the only water and air we have as a species.  Where on earth do you get your facts.  Am I reading something completely different in the Wall Street Journal than you are?

Another example.  Do you think NPR is flaming liberal drivel?  I know your answer.  Do you think Fox News is probably the other end of the spectrum or do you think it is balanced factual reporting?  No matter what your belief, please point to one piece of vitriol and hatred and name calling to come out of NPR.  Now tell me that doesn’t happen at Fox News.

Again, at the end of the day, don’t we all want basically the same thing?”

Steve’s Response:

“Ken, reading your emails make me think that you live an alternate universe. You are a climate alarmist. We all want clean air and water. However, the US is leading the world in emission reduction. Europe abandoned the climate treaty when they began to understand the cost to their economies. China and India, the worst offenders were not going to sign the deal. This would be devastating to our economy. The fact that we are not signing such a one sided agreement does not mean that we are blind to climate issues. They are being dealt with. Clearly not at the pace of a climate alarmist pace. For example, California is moving quickly in the way you suggest. As a result, businesses are moving out of California, the cost of living is burying the average guy. Ken, these are facts, and it will get worse out there. If you want that kind of life, then move out there.

Ken, your foul language in your emails do not make a point, except about you. Your demonstrated hate to your fellow man is unbelievable. Your comment that you are on the “right side” of the policy issues is unbelievably arrogant. Surely you jest. If not, you are insufferable.

Obama was no savior for this country. The democratic party lost 1,000 federal, state, and local elected officials during Obama’s term. This was a rejection of his policies. Lucky for him, he had enough personality to survive, but his fellow party members were dragged down because of him. These are facts.

More facts, the economy is better than ever. It is not because of Obama. No one except you and Paul Krugman would make such a statement. Such a statement is silly.

You are right, we are not getting “shit” for the bank. The only winner is you and your big severance, etc. which was not earned. As to social equity, I did not hear that you were renouncing your severance, etc. for the little guys in your bank. Ken, you need to back up your mouth with your actions. Clearly your ideas are that of the “limousine liberal” that you now seem to adore.

Finally, we have not lost our position as the world power. To the contrary, we are regaining it. After Obama and his failed “red line” abandonment in Syria, doing nothing in North Korea or China, and letting Russia have its way with Crimea and abandonment of Iraq to Iran, most of our allies are glad to see some resolve to do more than “lead from behind” as Obama suggested.

All in all Ken, the facts do not support your statements. Your purported commitment to doing good in the world is completely under cut by your arrogance and hatred of Trump supporters who you say “have an extreme lack of integrity”. Your comments slander 45% of the nation’s population. Based on your statement I must presume that many people that I consider fine people, me included, share an extreme lack of integrity. How insulting, and how stupid a comment. A man of integrity does not slander his fellow man that way. The same 45% of the population disagreed with Obama. We took our disagreement to the ballot box. I look forward to sharing drinks at Interlachen Country Club with Christian Swann in the next several weeks when I return from Maine. We may not agree on politics, but I am not worried that he will consider me to “have an extreme lack of integrity.

I again suggest you re-consider your feelings about your fellow man, or should I say lack of feelings.

Ken’s response:

“Steve, drop it, ok. You are clearly in the wrong on all this. If you want to continue this dialog I will only do it if it is in person. Steve, your comments about me not earning my severance is truly offensive. You start a bank and run it 10 years through the worst financial crisis (caused by Republicans) in our lifetime. You raise $150 million in capital. You build the highest performing bank in the state of Florida. You deliver almost $270 million in shareholder return from TWO bank sales. You can’t do it. Never in your wildest dreams.

Steve’s Response:

“I agree, we need to drop it. Your arrogance is unbelievable (“you are clearly wrong on all of this”). Many of the First Green shareholders agree with my comments.

Ken’s response:

“Steve, I don’t care what the shareholders think in regards to my worldview. They invested in the highest performing bank in the state of Florida which got there by doing the right thing, not in spite of doing the right thing. I also don’t care if you think I am arrogant. Reread your comments and tell me if you think you are any less arrogant than I.



Robert, SVP of a bank consulting firm, responded in this manner:

Ken, you and I have communicated over the years regarding raising capital and banking. However, regarding politics I’m a 1000% TRUMP supporter making AMERICA great again and support any and all republicans across the country including Florida!!!!!

Please remove my name from any and all future correspondence. Hopefully, you and others will finally wake up and see through the distorted delusional democratic lens of division, hate and obstruction. After all, in 8 years of Obama we almost became a third world banana republic TRUPM has saved the USA in spite of all the phony baseless charges, false innuendoes, daily fake news and hold overs from the Obama administration to obstruct, delay and hide the real facts !!!!!!!”

Ken’s response:

“Robert, all I can say is people like you are what is ruining this country.  Are you F’ing kidding me?  Trump is a sociopathic madman.  It’s crystal clear.  How could you in good conscious support someone who has leveraged MY grandchildren’s future both from a financial and environmental perspective?  There is no reason to even try to be reasonable with people like you!”

Robert’s response:

“Ken, You are a F’ing  idiot beyond belief and you probably consider yourself well educated and in the know. For the record, I’m very well versed in all aspects of what’s going on and have been for years and years. I voted for Ronald Reagan as well. People like you are aligned with George Soros, Antifa the Hollywood left plus the fake news. How can you even compare our future today as opposed to Obama’s bleak we are no longer a great nation, live with it. However, you also would fit in with any cult, Jim Jones, Davis Karsh, Scientology and Warren Jeffs for example. Like a mind controlled robot your sick diatribe and alignment with the far left is inexcusable. The 8 years of Obama had paralyzed our financial situation and the accumulated debt was more than all  the other presidents combined.  You also referenced Climate Change, while there is proponents on both sides, there is NO scientific proof only theories, and those benefiting from Carbon off-sets for Al Gore’s pocket. The Paris Climate accord was a joke, however it was on the US evidently, you have not actually read the language contained in it. In addition, yes People like me, are considered “deplorables”, with clinging to our “Bible & Guns”, “saluting our Flag”, “Standing for the National Anthem”, plus people like me served in our military and proud of it. However, you represent the people that spit on me coming home is my uniform. So sorry for your inability to use logic, reason and thought to process instead of insane emotion. To think you are a chairman First Green Bank, hopefully your bias and bad judgment doesn’t affect, oops I forgot First Green Bank is now Seacoast. That gives you plenty of time to actually study facts instead of swallowing fiction and farting fantasy.!!!!”

Ken’s response:

“Wow!  Thanks Robert, Bob, or whatever you go by.  Glad to know you and you can be assured I will never do business with you.  I have spent the better part of my professional life underwriting risk.  I will not do business with a Trump supporter because it dramatically increases the risk profile of a transaction.  Anyone who would willingly and excitedly support someone who is a con-man, bankrupt, traitor and the list goes on, is someone who’s corporate governance principles are at best compromised and at worst completely corrupt.

I won’t stoop as low as to call you a name like you did.”

Robert’s response:

“All of my friends call me Robert, however, you can feel free to call me Mr. Brown!

The business situation is mutual. However, you seem to be stuck on political affiliation instead of the 5 C’s of lending. You might review and study them.  For the record, I too have approved and / or rejected credits for years, but never was one’s religion, political status or color used as a basis. To add to approving, I’ve also, repo’d cars, trucks and other collateral in all kinds of situations myself. Believe me, it’s a lot easier to sit in tower shielded from reality!

However, someone that is predisposed to a decision without all the facts, reminds me of Thomas Edison – who would not hire anyone who seasoned their food before they tasted. He knew that they would make a decision without all the facts.  In addition, you appear to be one who is a closet “Red-Lining Radical”- and displays TDS (Trump Deranged Syndrome)!

You referenced “Corporate Governance Principles” and assumed accordingly my credit and Character commitment. For over 35 years I’ve retained a Platinum American Express card, credit score almost 800 and never been late on any obligation. Also, I choose whom I do business with accordingly. Calling out potentially bias even undercover or hidden is key. Southern people are like that, we value relationships, are trusting, but are really Leary of Yankees, Carpet baggers, *bullshi—ers* and especially *liars*!”

Ken’s response:

“Mr. Brown, I was born in Eustis, Florida, the same small town as my wife, my father and her father.  I am proud of my southern heritage.  There is nothing to be gained by you trying to out south me.  However, I value my northern friends and neighbors as much as I value my immigrant friends and neighbors and enjoy their differing perspectives and views as it allows me to make better decisions and judgements.

I would like to quote from your bio that is on your firm website: “The ability to form relationships quickly and translate into commitments is both a hallmark and a strength.  A positive attitude and willingness to persevere in all kinds of situations and circumstances has allowed successful completion of all projects in a timely manner.”  Hmmm, “positive attitude” and “Ken, you are a fucking idiot”, that’s real positive.  Why don’t you put our email exchange on your company website?

Do you think it’s ok that Trump has filed bankruptcy multiple times?  Do you think it’s ok that he has obstructed justice?  Do you think it’s ok that he has colluded with the Russians?  Do you think it’s ok that he has lied over 3,000 times – proven lies – since he took office?  Do you think it’s ok that he is destroying our standing in the world?  Just a few questions.  However, I really don’t want you to answer because your answers will be totally predictable because you buy into the Fox News lies that it is all deep state or some such.”