COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - Jerry Sanford is a former New York fire fighter who has a personal interest in seeing the Freedom Memorial finished.
"It's tough, but we'll get there," said Sanford.
He is also the Chairman of the Freedom Memorial Task Force and works with the county to make sure the project goes smoothly. But an internal audit shows some bumps in the road.
"Maybe it was a little on the county's part and on our part, but we have never done this before, you know, we're kind of looking
for direction and we just ran with it," said Sanford.
The audit, conducted by the Collier Clerk of Court, found the Task Force applied for grants from the Tourist Development Council with misleading information. They received funding typically given to non-profits. But this project is owned and operated by the county. The money was used on construction, something these grants aren't eligible for. The audit also found the Task Force never properly registered to solicit funds and sales tax collected on merchandise, was never paid.
The county told officials it will implement any correction actions and will work closely with the county attorney for resolution and implement any necessary controls. The County Commissioners directed the county manager to replace the funds received from the Tourist Development Council.