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Audit leak stirs rebuke from Winter Springs mayor

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A leak of an unreleased, unfinished Seminole County audit of Winter Springs’ finances has the city’s mayor criticizing the county clerk and other public officials who spoke about the unfinished audit. 

The city is expected to clarify data in the report before it is finalized and then officially released by the county in the coming weeks. 

Referring to the leak as “deeply disturbing,” Mayor Kevin McCann wrote an open letter to Seminole County Clerk Grant Maloy on Monday. 

The leak short-circuited a process designed to “protect against public dissemination of incomplete, and thus potentially misleading, information,” McCann wrote in the letter, with the quoted portion citing state statutes describing why the audit should be kept private until completed. 

Maloy told the Orlando Sentinel this week that he had to turn over the public document when requested. But McCann said that state statutes specifically exempt uncompleted audits from public records requests. 

“Audits … are forbidden from being released prior to the final draft and are exempt specifically from public records requests,” McCann said. 

The leak struck McCann as unusual. “You go back to the clerk’s website and check if he’s ever released a draft of an audit in the past? I dare say never,” McCann said. “That makes you wonder.” 

The audit, launched by County Commissioner Jay Zembower, began in February after Zembower said residents were concerned about delayed bridge repairs in the Tuskawilla neighborhood after Hurricane Ian, a storm that dropped rains described as once in 500 to 1,000 years. The city follows typical Florida building codes to build stormwater management systems for a once-in-25-year storm lasting 24 hours. 

The county audit specifically addresses concerns of how Winter Springs has spent its 1-cent sales tax revenues, approved by voters in 2014 and intended to be used for capital improvement projects, including infrastructure repairs, such as bridges. Few city staffers present when that sales tax began being disbursed to the city are still employed by the city. That includes three city managers in that span, most recently City Manager Shawn Boyle, who was the city’s finance manager in 2014 before becoming city manager in 2019, and who retired in February citing emotional and physical distress. 

In launching the audit, Zembower raised concerns about money spent on emergency vehicles and other expenses. 

McCann said that the audit, still incomplete, shows “we followed the letter of the law.” 



 

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