Ex-TF chief ran $6,500 bar tab

According to records obtained by the Cayman Islands Auditor General’s office, former Turtle Farm Managing Director Joey Ebanks ran up a $6,513.92 tab at the restaurant located on the tourist attraction’s property between July 2008 and March 2009.

Auditor General Dan Duguay said Friday that the amount owed by Mr. Ebanks, if he had been asked to repay it, would have been $4,884.86 including a 25 per cent employee discount.

But Mr. Duguay said no one had ever requested that money be repaid to the Cayman Turtle Farm/Boatswain’s Beach facility, which receives millions of dollars each from the Cayman Islands government to keep operating.

In his investigation into the matter, Mr. Duguay said he was informed that Mr. Ebanks did have a budget for hospitality purposes as managing director, and that the Turtle Farm’s Board of Directors had decided not to attempt to gain reimbursement for the restaurant tab.

About 70 per cent of the tab was for alcoholic drinks and tobacco products, Mr. Duguay said.

‘I have reviewed the various bar tabs,’ Mr. Duguay wrote in his report. ‘In four cases, a name was mentioned as a guest of Mr. Ebanks. However, in none of the cases was the purpose of the meeting described.’

Mr. Duguay’s findings came as part of an audit that revealed the Turtle Farm board never authorised some $51,000 in loans made to the former managing director over a period of two years. Those loans were repaid in full by Mr. Ebanks in April 2008.

Mr. Ebanks, a former candidate for election in North Side district, was contacted to provide a response to the audit’s findings, but did not do so within the time frame provided, Mr. Duguay said.

The current Turtle Farm board has indicated new policies regarding loans and salary advances to employees have already been put in place in light of the report. One of the policy changes requires the board of directors to approve all disbursement of funds to employees that are not specifically covered under their contracts.

Read more in the Caymanian Compass’ Monday editions….