State ready to audit bed tax records

It has taken over a year, but the State Auditor General is ready to audit the Tourist Development Tax records of Escambia County Clerk Pam Childers and the county. Former County Administrator Janice Gilley and Childers – quietly called “Laverne & Shirley” by courthouse insiders – fought the independent audit. Childers even threatened Pensacola Visit officials that the audit would harm their operations, apparently an attempt to discourage the Tourist Development Commission from looking at her books.

Today Childers and Commission Chair Jeff Bergosh received a letter from audit manager Derek Noonan CPA that outlines the objectives of the audit and the responsibilities of Childers and county officials. A teleconference was done today at 10 a.m. to go over the audit and the auditor’s requirements when they arrive onsite.

Read Auditor General Letter to BOCC and COC.


2 thoughts on “State ready to audit bed tax records

  1. There’s something we agree on, Mr. Lewis. In fact, I made many phone calls yesterday trying to make certain that JLAC has it on their radar to review LETF disbursements, as Pam Childers uses Bill Eddins as a buffer for not recording them sufficiently or correctly. I have made the argument a half dozen times at the podium if I’ve made it once that I can’t understand how a state’s attorney can absolve a constitutional officer of her duties by state statute. And in fact I obtained through public records request to the Sheriff’s Department what would seem to be the pertinent AG’s opinion that stipulates that it is the Clerk’s duty to record the back end paperwork correctly–you know, receipts documenting the actual expenditures–which she claims she doesn’t have to do because Eddin’s wrote her a note excusing her. I passed that opinion up to the dais, and she responded with a bunch of mumbo jumbo, but the last time I addressed LETF, she didn’t respond. It absolutely needs to be looked into.

  2. The State Auditor General “really” needs to audit the Law Enforcement Trust Fund scandal. A few years ago I reviewed all of the applications and all BCC actions related to them covering several years. It was shocking to include spending LETF money to benefit a group in Washington DC supposedly to prevent crime and make neighborhoods safe in Escambia County. Ridiculous. Most of the requests seem to have been put through a “flowery language” grinder as if the commissioners are feudal princes dispensing gifts to the peasants. As recently as January 6, the BCC rubberstamped three more LETF requests totaling $20,000, big money that would be better spent increasing the rewards paid by Gulf Coast Crime Stoppers, Inc. The $5,000 given for the Cordova Mall Ball is supposedly to tell the well-dressed attendees not to commit crimes and to keep their neighborhoods safe. It never ceases to amaze me that the BCC gets away with giving so much public money to their friends and people who then praise them for their “leadership” and give them awards for giving the group public money. Its all a type of political patronage. The biggest scandal in Escambia County is the way the BCC gives out what is called “non-departmental” monies. Maybe the Clerk of the Court should request the LETF audit. Here’s a news flash. The 2020 crime rate in Escambia County was 47% above the state average and 339% above the Santa Rosa County rate. Maybe we need a new state law that says if the crime in a county is more than a certain percent above the state average, the commissioners and Sheriff cannot qualify as candidates for reelection. That might provide some new motivation to put more Deputies out on patrol duty fighting crime.

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