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County Commission audit after purchasing scandal will extend into summer

FLORIDA TODAY

By Eric Rogers


An audit of the Brevard County Commission's spending habits, begun earlier this year after a string of questionable purchases by former Commissioner Bryan Lober ignited a public scandal, will extend into the summer, according to the Brevard Clerk of Courts office.


A spokesman for Clerk of the Court and Comptroller Rachel Sadoff said Tuesday the office was hoping to issue its final report on the commissioners' use of purchasing cards within the next few months.


"We are currently working on fleshing out the report," said Tyler Winik, a spokesman for the clerk's office. "Interviews have generally been concluded. We are hoping to have a final product to the Commission this summer."


Sadoff cautioned in a later statement to FLORIDA TODAY that the timeline for the audit's completion was not set in stone.


"I realize that the audit regarding the County Commissioners’ use of purchase cards over the past four years is of utmost importance to the public," she said.


"While I understand the high interest in the outcome of our work, we will provide our findings once they are complete. We will take as much time as is needed dependent entirely on our need to ensure accuracy and completeness," Sadoff said. "Our constituents should expect nothing less from my administration.


Sadoff began the audit at the request of the commission in February, after county records leaked by an anonymous whistleblower showed Lober had racked up nearly $40,000 on his county-issued "p-card" — similar to a government credit card — since March 2020.


The purchases included tens of thousands of dollars of technology and office equipment, much of which Lober said he bought for various nonprofits and other government agencies. Among the more controversial items was a $750 office chair for a staffer — which was then lost. Lober said he had bought it for an individual working in either the central services or natural resources department.


The purchases were derived from federal COVID-19 relief funds that the county had received in 2020 to help individuals and entities impacted by the pandemic.


Lober has maintained the purchases were legal and in line with County Commission purchasing rules. He resigned from the District 2 commission seat in March, citing the death of a family member.


Sadoff has refrained from committing to a firm completion date for the audit, which includes p-card transactions for all commissioners and their staff going back to November 2016. Winik previously chalked up the moving deadline to the scope and thoroughness of the review.


Sadoff later added: "My decision not to announce a specific timeline or to provide more finite details should not be seen as anything more than allowing my team of professionals to finish their important work.”


Winik said Tuesday the final report may consist of two parts: one for Districts 1 through 5, and another focused specifically on District 2. Sadoff later clarified the form the final report would take is still in flux.


Once the report is complete, the clerk's office will notify the commission chairperson and then release it to the board and the public, Winik said.

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