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Friday August 1st 2014

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Mayor’s ad agency to be investigated further

Now that the state auditor has finished it’s audit of the Okaloosa Tourist Development Council, the county commissioners are ready to begin their investigation. Okaloosa County Administrator Jim Curry also told the Daily News that State Attorney Bill Eddins has given them permission to proceed.

The center of the investigation are alleged misuse of TDC funds by the former TDC director, who committed suicide after resigning last May, and the Zimmerman Agency, who Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward last year hired to head all the city’s marketing efforts.

Here are some of the allegations that the county will investigate:

$25,000 in bed tax revenue paid to The Zimmerman Agency to hire the American Wind Symphony Orchestra to perform a concert that never occurred;

A $14,960 overpayment to The Zimmerman Agency for a driver hired to take the TDC’s recreational vehicle to promotions across the Southeast. The driver was paid to work 123 days at $187 per day plus $1,000 in expenses. But records in support of the driver’s service “showed a potential of only 43 days and $1,000 in expenses,” according to the state audit;

A $10,800 overpayment to The Zimmerman Agency for a promotional spokesman. The spokesman was paid to provide 32 days of services at $1,200 per day, but records show that the spokesman provided only 23 days of service, according to the audit.

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