Special Meeting in Wakulla County Over Spending Allegations

This week, the Board of Wakulla County Commissioners was accused of mismanaging funds. Thursday, in a special meeting where no questions were allowed, County Commission Chair Mike Stewart responded to those allegations.

Victor Lambou, a Wakulla County resident, says, “This was supposed to be an emergency meeting. To me it looked like a press conference. No question was allowed, no back and forth, nothing he said could be challenged."

In response to a recent press conference held by the Wakulla County Taxpayer's Association, Wakulla County Commission Chairman Mike Stewart responded to allegations that the county mismanaged millions of taxpayer dollars.

Ted Gaupin, also a Wakulla County resident, adds, "The accusations brought by this group and Mr. Kessler are politically inspired."

"Many of those are flat out lies and many half-truths, and it's our job to keep running this government. Until I am not a commissioner anymore, I'm going to keep doing that," says Stewart.

The Taxpayer's Association says the county has paid companies for services without requiring contracts or bids and has paid a certain vendor millions for services the vendor did not, and is not performing.

Stewart says, "I understand they have launched an investigation against us and I welcome an investigation. We've done nothing wrong. Are we perfect? No. Is any government perfect? No. Are there areas we can do better? Yes."

Stewart says his statement made on Thursday is the last he plans to say on the matter. Commissioner Stewart says irregularities cited in a recent audit of the county's finances were from a reduction in the county's reserve account. He says the money was used to make improvements to Highway 319 and will be reimbursed by the Department of Transportation within three years.