Okaloosa County officials have named an Interim Executive Director of the Tourist Development Council.
The county's Airport Director, Greg Donovan will step in temporarily and work at least four months until the position is filled. Donovan replaces former Executive Director, Mark Bellinger, who recently took his life amidst controversy surrounding the misuse of tourism funds.
Bellinger resigned Tuesday after county officials discovered a suspicious purchase involving the use of bex-tax money to buy a $710,000 sport fishing yacht.
Bellinger did this without the knowledge or permission of both the county and the TDC. The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office launched an investigation into the deal.
On Thursday investigators issued an arrest warrant for Bellinger for mortgage fraud, saying they had information leading them to believe he also bought a nearly $800,000 home in Destin with some of the TDC's BP oil spill settlement money.
Bellinger was found dead of a suspected drug overdose Friday morning in his car outside of Birmingham.
Donovan will begin as Interim TDC Director immediately. He issued a statement saying in part,
"It is so important that the people that worked with Mark have an opportunity to mourn. In the days and weeks to come, the accountability of full investigations will follow and anything that was broken will be fixed".
Investigators say there could be even more misappropriations. The Florida Auditor General's Office is joining the investigation to determine exactly what happened under Bellinger's watch.