ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. - A wedding reception that took place earlier this year is generating a lot of buzz after allegations surfaced that a public official got a sweetheart deal.
St. Lucie County administrator Faye Outlaw says the county has now brought an independent auditor on board Wednesday to investigate. Meanwhile, recently released receipts show the cost of the wedding well exceeded the $1,800 the couple in question paid.
"I have absolutely no reason to think that any event that we have there is something shady going on," said Outlaw. "That's not how we operate as a county."
The receipts, totaling more than $13,000, show purchases for LED lights - nearly $2,500 -- a ceiling draping kit for $2,300, and water and ice goblets costing more than $1,000.
Outlaw says an investigation is not enough.
"We wanted to make certain that we had an independent entity taking a look at allegations and going through the records and determining the facts," she said.
On May 28, more than 200 guests enjoyed the wedding reception of Joe and Heather Smith at the Fenn Center in Ft. Pierce.
"We trust the people of St. Lucie County and their employees to take care of us, but taking care of us is doing for us what they would do for anyone else," said Joe Smith.
In a letter sent to county commissioners last week, a former employee with the county's Parks and Recreation Department alleged that although the Smiths only paid $1,800, the county racked up $30,000 in expenses.
"I don't know what they paid. I just know that $1,800 is what we paid, which is a lot of money for us and we rented the center," said Smith.
Outlaw says everything purchased will be used for future events, and it is all part of a plan to bring in premium events to the Fenn Center.
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