PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — The former city manager for Panama City Beach who filed a whistleblower lawsuit after he was terminated has a new job.
Frisco, Colorado has named Tony O’Rourke the new town manager according to area newspaper Summit Daily.
O’Rourke said in his lawsuit that he was terminated for cooperating with an FBI investigation into Popeye Park. He wrote that former City Manager Mario Gisbert spent city money to improve the park in 2019 at the behest of former Mayor Mike Thomas. His lawsuit added that Thomas’ son lived next to the park.
O’Rourke also claims the park is private property. City officials said they believed the park belonged to the city and had been treated as a city park for decades.
The city ordered an independent investigation into the matter, concluding that despite appearances, no laws were broken.
Bay County Property Appraiser Dan Sowell told News 13 in May that the park actually does belong to the city.
On Thursday Sowell sent a statement to News 13 about the issue.
“On the advice of counsel, the Bay County Property Appraiser’s Office was instructed to let the appropriate court determine the ownership of the parcel referred to as “Popeye Park,” Sowell wrote.
O’Rourke’s lawsuit against the city is ongoing. The FBI has not confirmed or denied if there is an investigation into the park.