Nathan Wilson of Destin and Robert Boudreau of Pennsylvania were charged Monday with grand theft in connection with Okaloosa County’s ever-evolving TDC scandal.
Both men are accused of pocketing money they were given to hold events that never occurred.
Wilson, 39, of Destin, is charged with procuring $7,000 in TDC funding for a long-distance relay race called Emerald Coast to Coast, according to an Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office news release.
“The race never took place and Wilson has also not provided any documentation to indicate the county funds were ever used legitimately,” the release states.
Boudreau, 84, of Mars, Penn., accepted $25,000 from the TDC as the music director for the American Wind Symphony Orchestra, the release states. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.
The funds, paid for through the Zimmerman Agency, were for a concert or concerts that never took place, the news release states.
The Sheriff’s Office has been investigating money expended by the TDC since early May of 2012 when Bellinger admitted to county commissioners that he’d used $710,000 in bed tax funds to buy a yacht. As the probe was getting under way, Bellinger left town and was found dead in a suicide May 4.
The ongoing investigation has revealed that Bellinger used bed tax dollars and funds provided by BP following its Deepwater Horizon oil spill to buy the yacht, a $747,000 home, a Porsche, motorcycles, RVs and other items.
Daniel O’Byrne, the county’s new TDC director, had not been informed of the arrests Monday afternoon. He said his interaction with the Sheriff’s Office during the course of its investigation has been limited.
“Like everybody else, I’m looking forward,” he said.
A Sheriff’s Office report indicates Wilson’s now ex-wife, Melissa Wilson, contacted the TDC between January and March of 2012 to apply for $47,450 in special event funding to hold the Emerald Coast to Coast run, described as “a long-distance relay race for a team of runners.”
The event received approval for $12,000 in funding, and Nathan and Melissa Wilson were given $7,000, the report states. Investigators found Nathan Wilson made six withdrawals in an amount totaling well over $7,000 from a “Coast to Coast” account and deposited the funds into a personal account.
Wilson told authorities “he used the money ‘according to what was approved on the application,’ ” the arrest report states. He could provide no receipts or invoices as proof, the report states.
Boudreau received $25,000 in county funds, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Funding was invoiced to the county from the Zimmerman Agency of Tallahassee in checks for $7,500 and $17,500.
The county, in turn, passed the money on to the American Wind Symphony Orchestra through Boudreau.
“Boudreau told investigators the concert was never performed because there was a ‘hospitality’ problem — there was no local housing for the orchestra,” the release said.
Boudreau told authorities he had no intention of returning the $25,000. He said “after he had not heard from (former TDC director Mark) Bellinger for a period of time he thought the $25,000 was a donation to the orchestra,” the release states.
“If this were intended as a donation it would not have been necessary to arrange housing for the musicians locally, which appears to have been the reason the concert didn’t occur,” the Sheriff’s Office report said.