During his years serving on the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Council, companies co-owned by longtime TDC member John Herrick “Jack” Sanborn Jr., who on Monday was charged with a Sunshine Law violation, were paid more than $25,000 through the TDC, per county records.
According to the Florida Division of Corporations, Sanborn co-owns Adventures Unlimited and Gulfstar Advertising.
“As for any money Adventures or Gulfstar has received over the years, only Gulfstar has received bed tax money from the TDC for distribution of the county brochure,” Sanborn stated.
However, information provided through a records request shows that both companies received payments connected to tourism.
County finance department records show Gulfstar Advertising from 2003-2010 was paid $24,900 for brochure distribution and print advertising and Adventures Unlimited from 2004-2012 received $3,219.46 in payments, which included tourism and retreat expenses.
“This is allowed under sole provider law. But to clear up any possibility of a conflict, and to the possible detriment of our marketing effort, Gulfstar quit the distribution years ago,” Sanborn stated.
In his 2015 letter seeking to be reappointed to the TDC, Sanborn stated he had been serving on the council for 14 years.
On Monday First Judicial Circuit State Attorney Bill Eddins announced Sanborn had been charged with a non-criminal violation which is punishable by a maximum fine of $500.
According to Eddins, the allegations are that Sanborn, a member of the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Council, during June discussed matters which foreseeably could come before that organization with another council member outside a public meeting.
A press release issued by Eddins’ office stated that Sanborn “did unlawfully engage in a discussion or exchange of information with other members of the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Council.”
During the course of the investigation all members of the TDC were interviewed along with TDC support staff.
Sanborn’s court appearance on the public meeting law violation is scheduled for 9 a.m., December 5 at Santa Rosa County Courthouse. County Judge Robert Hilliard has been assigned to oversee the court proceedings.