Kent Sterman, major Florida Republican political donor and ally of Gov. Ron DeSantis, was under investigation at the time of his death, authorities said Friday. Photo courtesy State University System of Florida
Dec. 10 (UPI) -- A major Republican donor and supporter of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was under investigation at the time of his death this week, sheriff's officials say.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office confirmed to Politico, The Florida Times-Union and the Tampa Bay Times that it was conducting an investigation into Kent Sterman, 50, when he was found dead late Thursday.
"This investigation remains ongoing at this time and will continue until its completion," Sheriff T.K. Waters said. "As with all active investigations, there is limited information available to release at this time.
"However, as soon as this investigation has been completed, all applicable information will be available for release to the public."
Waters did not elaborate on the nature of the probe into Stermon, who was found dead in his vehicle in Duval County, according to the Atlantic Beach, Fla., Police Department.
Police did not list a cause of death but said they do not suspect foul play.
Stermon was a key member of DeSantis' transition team and a current member of the board that oversees Florida's public universities.
He was also the president and CEO of Total Military Management, a defense contractor based in Jacksonville.
Stermon has donated $140,000 in state political contributions since 2017, of which $50,000 went to a political committee aligned with DeSantis, Politico reported.
Last year, Stermon co-hosted a fundraiser with Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry for failed Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker.
"The Governor and First Lady were shocked and saddened to hear of Kent's passing, and their prayers (and our entire office's prayers) are with his family during this difficult time," DeSantis' office said on Friday, adding that it had no knowledge of the criminal investigation into Stermon.