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Sunday, 16 August 2015 15:11

Former Beach Chamber Chairman Replies Featured

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Thank you Sun Bay paper for your extensive article on the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce. I have been an outed member of the Chamber for over 3 years now and I have often wondered how the Chamber was making efforts to pay back the Foundation for all of the money owed. It appears from the article that they only feel the short term loan "so they were able to make payroll" is all they are owning up to for their debt and that is a complete shame. The thousands and thousands of dollars that was essentially taken from the foundation so they could remain in good standings with the bank while the Chamber of Commerce did regular business as usual without paying any money back is such a crime! They had a CONTRACT WITH A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION that was not honored and it needs to be paid back!!!!

I look forward to your future investigation on the "Bambi" topic as I see this as a fleecing of its membership and to all those who gave their money to this project. I remember it was Bud's dream to have a operations center that would be mobile where it would be place in Times Square and down at Santini in order to cover the entire island. To date, the only place they have covered is the parking lot covered at the Adventist Community Services. "I wonder how many people pull in there to get beach information?" Hard to tell as it is gated off most days. To me, I think that $30,000 should have been spent paying back the foundation who actually does something for the beach. How about the $50,000 they get every year from the Sandsculpting event, where does that money go? That is $50,000 more than when I was there and we made the mortgage payment. They have smaller accommodations, less bills and more money coming in.... Where is it going? I think there needs to be more transparency on the Chambers part. They act less like an organization for the businesses and more like a secret society as of late. I wonder if their board knows how much money they owe? Are the financials even being discussed at their meeting any longer? I have often wondered how are they paying rent at their new location? If they couldn't pay anything at the prior location, how can they afford to do so at the new location? Questions we will probably never have the answers for!

Andrew Cochrane
2010 Chairman of the Board
Greater Fort Myers Beach Area Chamber of Commerce

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