Light Shined on Downtown Improvement Board Meetings

PANAMA CITY-- According to DIB director Dutch Sanger, the secret meeting the board is accused of holding, wasn't really secret.

"We had a special meeting to go over the standard operating procedures for financials, and we notified it on the establishment here, and we put it out on our website and so forth," said Sanger.

What they didn't do was contact city commissioner John Kady, who was supposed to be informed of such meetings.

"We did not break the sunshine law, I've gone back and confirmed it, but there is a perception of impropriety on that, so we went on and rehashed the entire meeting," said Chairman Jim Hayden.

"The question was, was the BP grant, was there actually allowed to be sponsorship money allowed to be paid out for a BP grant, and nobody knew the answer to that," said Jane Lindsey.

“It was in the budget that BP approved, and I did draw a commission off of that because it was money that I went out, I found, and I got. It was a windfall of $125 thousand to the DIB," said Sanger.

Sanger gets a 10 percent commission on any sponsorship dollars he brings in.

"You know my 16 year old daughter can tell you what a cash sponsorship is, it's not a state grant or that sort of thing, its cash sponsorships and booth rentals. Those are the only two things; this is not something that is up to interpretation," said John Kady in the meeting.

But, the board owes Sanger 588 hours of comp time, worth more than 18 thousand dollars. He agreed to repay the roughly $12,000 in BP commission, out of that comp time.

"I don't want anybody to have any ideas that I’ve done anything wrong, so I’d much rather just give it back and be done with it," added Sanger.

Sanger still has about six thousand owed to him by the board.