Destin officials cleared of credit card misuse

TOM McLAUGHLIN 315-4435 | @TomMnwfdn tmclaughlin@nwfdailynews.com

Two Destin elected officials and three city employees have been cleared of criminal wrongdoing regarding their use of city-issued credit cards.

State Attorney’s Office investigators determined that three city employees, including City Manager Greg Kisela, “made unofficial charges on their official city purchasing cards … in a purely accidental fashion.”

Two elected officials, Mayor Mel Ponder and City Councilwoman Prebble Ramswell “both believed it was acceptable to charge meals while on city travel while understanding that they would reimburse the city,” the report said.

Other personal charges made by Ramswell “involved the same types of mistakes made by the city employees,” the report continued.

“There is no evidence of criminal intent by any of the five cardholders who made unofficial purchases,” it said.

The investigation into the improper use of city credit cards got underway in October after Kisela notified Ramswell he had uncovered “irregularities” in her card use and gone to the State Attorney’s Office with his findings.

Five days later Kisela found himself under scrutiny when a public records request turned up a check he’d written to reimburse the city for baseball tickets he bought using his credit card.

Ponder was also swept into the investigation when a copy of a check, also obtained through a public records request, showed he’d reimbursed the city for meals obtained on his purchasing card.

To read the full story from our sister paper, the Northwest Florida Daily News, CLICK HERE.