State orders audit of Okaloosa finances, clerk's office

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

“How could this happen? It’s just incomprehensible to me,” said Rep. Gayle B. Harrell, R-Stuart.

In response, Curry said there had been “a catastrophic failure of controls at all levels, across the board” within Okaloosa County government, allowing Bellinger’s fraud to take place.

Gaetz told the committee that the county’s response to the scandal — especially the corrective action plan it submitted to the auditor general — has been inadequate.

“It’s inadequate to the people in my community and to me as a legislator,” Gaetz said.

He said he and Okaloosa County residents have been left to wonder if the fraud is the result of “complete and utter incompetence” or if it indicates “criminal culpability.”

Abruzzo and other committee members said they wanted to understand the broader impact of the scandal on Okaloosa taxpayers.

“We would like to get an overall economic impact of what this cost the residents of Okaloosa County,” he said.

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