As reported by this publication on Friday the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) Board voted unanimously to fire its current President and CEO George Szigeti. The board voted last Friday to fire him without cause.
How did it come to this?
According to eTN sources close to the Hawaii Tourism Authority here are the main reasons that caused George Szigeti to be terminated.
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A recent audit found the Hawaii Tourism Authority to be an agency that was spending money way too freely.
Among the problems found in the audit:
- HTA reimbursed some contractors without receipts and reimbursed contractor AEG, which took over management of the Hawaii Convention Center for about $50,000 in first-class airfare and other lavish expenses.
- Additionally, the auditor said, millions of dollars in contracts were renewed or changed without evaluation for effectiveness. And HTA executives didn’t even know the rules they were supposed to follow.
- The authority paid Expedia $3.5 million for a marketing campaign and didn’t hold Expedia to the contract terms. HTA funded development of a video/interactive program by Expedia which provided Expedia with direct bookings.
- The passage of the Transient Accommodation Tax increase. The increase was earmarked for rail. It was especially problematic for Neighbor Island folks who saw a tax increase going to something they don’t benefit from.
- The budget cuts stemming from the dysfunctional relationship with the legislature (including fights over disclosing information to the legislature).
- Ethics commission violation in regards to unauthorized upgrades received by airlines. see http://files.hawaii.gov/ethics/advice/ROC2017-3.pdf
- The audit findings of lax management oversight and procurement procedures.
Hawaii Tourism Authority is sailing into uncharted territory. At the same time, Szigetti has been fired a conversation took place in the office of Hawaii Governor Ige. What was discussed with whome?
HawaiiNews.online will have the story shortly.