State issues sweeping critique of Okaloosa spending oversight (DOCUMENT)

Mark Bellinger, TDC
Special to The Log
Published: Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 09:28 AM.

The Florida Auditor General has issued a sweeping critique of Okaloosa County commissioners’ oversight of the Tourist Development Council and the county’s use of bed tax money.

Read the report. >>

The analysis contains 25 key findings in 11 areas that range from oversight and fraud prevention to travel expenses, conflicts of interest and improper use of bed tax revenue.

“They’ve been very thorough,” County Administrator Jim Curry said. “The findings they’ve provided are going to be very, very important as we continue to try to refine our processes. Fortunately, most of the recommendations they’ve made the board has been working hard to implement.”

The county has 30 days to respond to the audit’s recommendations and submit a set of corrective actions to the state. Curry said he plans to present that list to county commissioners Jan. 8.

The preliminary report, which was released late Tuesday, comes seven months after the Auditor General began its operational audit.

Sheriff Larry Ashley requested the audit after county officials discovered a fraud scheme put in place by former tourism head Mark Bellinger.

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