• 9 Investigates: Seminole County's top business officials resign


    SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Two of Seminole County's top business officials, Sharon Sears, executive director of the Seminole County Convention and Visitors Bureau and John Krug, Seminole County's economic development director, both stepped down Thursday.

    Channel 9's Bianca Castro discovered their resignations came on the same day county officials questioned whether the two lied about a private cocktail party for a former employee.

    That cocktail party happened at a high-end hotel in Lake Mary.

    According to county records Channel 9 requested, questions about who paid for the party are what raised red flags with the county's own auditors.

    Sears and Krug led the effort to bring visitors and business to Seminole County.

    But a single night in February at a hotel cost them their jobs.

    According to an email Channel 9 obtained, the two may have broken policy by using their positions to raise money from local businesses to pay for the private event.

    The email then says "one indicating essentially no involvement, while the other indicated a limited role."

    When the Seminole County Clerk's Office asked the two about it they said they had little to no involvement in planning the party.

    But the truth came out when the clerk's office combed through their emails and found Sears' and Krug's statements "were at the least, highly inaccurate."

    Castro spoke with Krug over the phone.

    "I did not deny my involvement. I tried to explain as clearly as I could exactly how I've been involved," said Krug.

    Krug said they collected $2,000 in business sponsorships for the exclusive get-together.

    Officials think no Seminole County public funds were used.

    Castro was unable to reach Sears for comment.

    Krug says he had no choice but to resign.

    "I thought I was doing the right thing, um, you know, it doesn't really matter what I think. If the county thinks I've done something wrong then I need to -- I needed to step down," said Krug.

    Auditors are still investigating to make sure no taxpayer dollars were spent on the event.

    Sears had been with Seminole County for five years and made about $80,000 a year. Krug just started last year and got a $105,000 salary.

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