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Another port audit comes after the I-Team uncovered questionable spending

Some board members insisted Anderson do the audit
Posted: 6:47 PM, Dec 19, 2017
Updated: 2017-12-21 13:54:38Z

TAMPA — More fallout at Port Tampa Bay.

Today, the port's chief executive ordered another audit to review controversial expenses uncovered by the ABC Action News I-Team.

The I-Team first exposed port executives wining and dining on your dime back in June.

While Paul Anderson, the port's president and CEO, called for a third-party audit during Tuesday's port authority meeting, we confirmed at least two board members advised him to do it.

When the I-Team uncovered that tens of thousands of your taxpayer dollars went to fancy dinners, drinks, golf club memberships, and sporting events; Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who sits on the port authority's board, demanded Anderson implement and revise 13 pages of policies.

RELATED: Mayor demands policy changes to Port Tampa Bay's credit card spending after I-Team Investigation

During that meeting, it was also announced that a third-party audit was underway. But the I-Team later discovered that audit would only review expenditures made after our investigation and not the three years of questionable expenses we uncovered.

Now, under pressure, Anderson is directing a new third-party auditor to go back and review the expenses for three years prior to the policy changes.

Following Tuesday's announcement of the new audit, board member Gregory Celestan told Anderson. "I think that is courageous. I think it is necessary in the current environment. And I think it is the right thing to do."

While praised for his decision, Anderson took the step after he was urged to do so by at least two authority members.

RELATED: Port Tampa Bay CEO gets outstanding review and raise despite state investigation

Prior to the meeting, newly appointed board member Mike Griffin told us either Anderson will call for the audit or Griffin would, if necessary.

Griffin was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott, who showed concern about the I-Team's investigative findings.

The I-Team tried to talk to Anderson after Tuesday's meeting. But Anderson left the board room abruptly.

A port spokeswoman told the I-Team that Anderson wasn't available for an interview because he had left the building.

About 30 minutes later, however, an I-Team videographer spotted Anderson leaving the port building after his spokeswoman said he'd left.

The Florida House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee is still investigating Tampa's port.
Several boxes of documents from the port were delivered to House Speaker Richard Corcoran last Friday.