Okaloosa officials to appear again before Auditing Committee

Published: Monday, March 4, 2013 at 11:21 AM.

The Auditing Committee also has asked several other officials to appear voluntarily. They include County Administrator Jim Curry, County Attorney John Dowd, Clerk of Court Don Howard, former TDC attorney Steve Hall and Lewis Communications Vice President Ellen Wingard.

The committee specified that Wingard or another Lewis representative “should have detailed knowledge” of the transaction that resulted in Bellinger’s purchase of a house in Destin with $747,000 in BP grant money.

Lewis Communications’ attorney, Gus Fontenot of Mobile, could not be reached for comment.

Also asked to attend were several former and current members of the TDC. They include Warren Gourley, chairman of the TDC; Bobby Nabors, a Fort Walton Beach city councilman and TDC member; and former TDC members Kathy Houchins, Patricia Hardiman and Nick Nicholson.

It remains unclear why former TDC members Lino Maldonado and Tim Edwards were not asked to appear.

While Gourley and Houchins said they plan to attend and welcome the chance to speak, Nicholson will stay home.

"I don’t feel that I have any additional insight," Nicholson said. "I didn’t approve any invoices. I didn’t approve any payments."

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