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JoTo Out: Your Tourist Tax Dollars Lost at Sea

m3evkb-npt01771-300x199.jpgSo you are in charge of tourism in one of the most prime pieces of sunny real estate in Okaloosa County, Florida which includes Fort Walton Beach, Crestview and Destin. One day you get the idea to buy a $710,000 yacht with bed tax money. Wait…what?!?!

Mark Bellinger, who has been the head of the county’s Tourist Development Council since May 2010, told county commissioners he bought the yacht in December to use in a year-long promotional campaign. The problem is that he did not ask county officials if it was okay and so he resigned and now the county has a yacht. What was he thinking? Well, we’re thinking he was not planning on doing any tourism work in that yacht!

While this is bad enough on its own, what compounds the problem is the PR of the county’s incompetence. Rather than putting in a strong purchasing policy and explaining how something like this could never happen again, the county looks like they are scratching their collective head and wondering how this could happen – this is what gets publicized. Not good Okaloosa, really this is not a good PR handling whatsoever.

What’s more – their “PR firm”was involved in the deal. See for yourself how TDC director resigns after $710,000 yacht purchase.


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