TDC Chairman Accused of Embezzling Funds from Employer


Bay County Tourism Development Council chairman Andrew Phillips is being sued for nearly $400,000 by his former employer, Counts Oakes Resort Properties. 

The company’s lawsuit is demanding Phillips pay nearly $412,000.00 which, according to the legal documents is triple the damages Counts Oakes incurred.

Phillips allegedly spent the money on personal meals with friends, first-class flights, health insurance, $6,000 for Apple computer products and fuel for his personal vehicle.

The lawsuit also claims Phillips spent in excess of $2,500 at Dick’s sporting goods for “uniforms” from 2015 to 2018.

It also lists a $10,000 cash reimbursement to Phillips with no supporting documentation at all.     

The company is also accusing Phillips of diverting rental fees and receiving kickbacks from resort property booking providers that should have gone to Counts-Oakes.

And the lawsuit claims Phillips improperly authorized health insurance for his four adult children and step-children under the companies insurance policy. 

Owners Steven Counts and Jason Oakes hired Phillips in 2008 to manage the day to day operations.

His employment contract states he made approximately $150,000 a year.

In 2014, he received a 30% stake in the company and became Treasurer, Secretary and Director of the corporation. 

When Counts & Oakes sold the company in May, they ordered an audit, which uncovered the alleged misappropriations and theft.

The new owners did not retain Phillips.

News 13 called Phillips this morning Phillips, who refused to comment, then added, “The truth will come out in the end.”  

The Bay County Tourist Development Council and Bay County, which oversees the TDC, also declined comment.

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