The Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest military honor awarded. For the first time ever, the Medal of Honor Society chose Tampa to host the convention in 2019.
But the I-Team has learned organizers are off to a rocky start and recently forced their CEO and President to resign. All after Investigator Jarrod Holbrook uncovered his financial problems at Port Tampa Bay.
Prior to getting the CEO job at the Medal of Honor Convention Tampa Bay, Ed Miyagishima was Port Tampa Bay' s senior advisor to the CEO (Vice President of Communications and External Affairs).
We're told Miyagishima never disclosed his financial problems at Port Tampa when accepting his new position.
Susan Ferrera is the new interim CEO and President of the Medal of Honor Convention of Tampa Bay.
"Well we were surprised. I actually learned about it through your reporting," she tells us.
Ferrara is talking about their former CEO Ed Miyagishima, who was recently forced to resign.
Miyagishima got the position after he was asked to resign from Port Tampa Bay.
All after the I-Team discovered he was spending taxpayer money on fancy dinners, bar tabs, and flowers , and he couldn't explain how the expenses were related to port business.
We previously revealed he had to pay back the port more than $11 thousand in unexplained charges.
Gary Littrell is a Medal of Honor recipient and board advisor to the organization hosting the Tampa Bay Convention.
Mr. Littrell says, "primarily my job is to protect the medal and the society, so when it was brought to my attention I discussed it with society headquarters...it was felt to be in the best interest of all that we ask Ed to resign."
So he did.
In his resignation letter he makes no mention of his financial issues at the port, but rather says increased travel and time commitments led him to resign.
The new team is now scrambling to clear up paperwork, Miyagishima is currently listed as the incorporator of the convention in business filings with the state.
Moving forward, Medal of Honor Convention planners are hoping the new CEO can help restore the organization's integrity.
Ferrara is a retired Colonel with 26 years of service. She was in the Air Force at Centcom at Macdill Air Force Base.
In discussing her vision for the convention she says, "we're so very excited, lots of work to do but it's going to be an amazing event."
Mr. Littrell adds, "I'm also excited about the team we have in place right now. We have a first class team and our goal is to make this the best convention in the history of the Medal of Honor Society."
The Medal of Honor Convention will be a week long event here in October of 2019.
We can expect events like school appearances by Medal of Honor recipients, reunions, book signings, military day at Macdill, and a formal gala.
It's the first time for Tampa to host the convention.
Jarrod Holbrook is an Emmy and AP Award-winning Investigative Reporter for the ABC Action News I-Team. Do you have a story idea? Contact Jarrod on Facebook , Twitter , or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org .