OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. (WALA) - Okaloosa County Commissioners said they have put a plan together to hopefully recoup money former Tourism Development Council Director Mark Bellinger used inappropriately.
In May 2012, authorities say Bellinger took his own life after making purchases using hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax funds.
Among those purchases, officials said were a yacht, his Destin home, two custom motorcycles and a Porsche.
Okaloosa County Commissioner Nathan Boyles has been on the board for three months. He's been dealing with the situation since he took office.
"There was a failure in procedures of structure to control the expenditure of those monies and we had a thief come in and take advantage of those failures," said Boyles.
Boyles said they've come up with what they call a 7 point plan, which includes selling the unauthorized property, tighter control over the TDC and pursuing litigation with businesses that dealt illegally with Bellinger.
Volunteer members on the TDC council were also asked to resign.
"There's been no accusation that those council members should have specifically known anything. But it's my belief that they were close enough to that process that it warrants giving our county a fresh set of eyes on the council," Boyles said.
Boyles said the situation is the toughest the county has had to face.
"The truth is we can't make Okaloosa County whole in this deal. We'd be lying to the taxpayers if we said that. But what we are going to do is maximize the recovery for the county," said Boyles.
Officials said it was also discovered that Bellinger had also purchased thousands of dollars worth of furniture, which will be sold.
They say all the items purchased by Bellinger, besides the two motorcycles, are on the market.
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