State orders audit of Okaloosa finances, clerk's office

Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 05:07 PM.

Amunds disagreed.

“It was not a deliberate attempt at all,” he answered.

The audits of the county government and clerk’s office will be conducted by the state Auditor General’s Office, the same entity that documented mismanagement of millions of dollars in TDC bed taxes and BP oil spill grants. The Auditing Committee, composed of six state representatives and five senators, has direct oversight of the Auditor General’s Office.

The committee questioned County Administrator Jim Curry, Commission Chairman Don Amunds and Commissioner Dave Parisot about the misuse of the bed tax money and BP oil spill grants for more than two hours during Monday’s hearing. The county officials who spoke at the hearing were sworn in before they were questioned.

Two members of the Northwest Florida legislative delegation — Rep. Matt Gaetz and Rep. Doug Broxson — also attended the hearing and participated in the questioning.

Amunds summarized for the committee the timeline of events that have occurred in Okaloosa County since May 2012, when officials discovered the fraud scheme put in place by former TDC head Mark Bellinger. But his presentation, which included a list of policy changes commissioners have implemented in the past nine months, was interrupted by Abruzzo, who began taking questions from lawmakers.

Many of the committee members questioned county officials about which specific county employees and attorneys approved various expenditures, checks and other payments that later turned out to be illegal or unauthorized. They expressed surprise and frustration when Curry confirmed that no employees have been fired or suspended in connection with the fraud scandal.

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