Zoo Improperly Managed

TAMPA -

The City of Tampa released a preliminary audit looking at Lowry Park Zoo's operations. It found that the zoo president inappropriately mixed public assets with his for-profit business, Safari Wild. And, that law enforcement should review the audit.

Lowry Park Zoo President Lex Salisbury has been on a paid leave of absence for more than two months while the zoo and city conducted separate audits. He earns almost $340,000 in salary and bonuses.

Friday, the City of Tampa released its audit to the media and the zoo's executive board. Santiago Corrada represents the City of Tampa on that board.

'We believe that many of these findings will be looked at by law enforcement,' Corrada said.

The audit states that Salisbury built structures on his private land using zoo money, that there were many questionable animal sales and trades. And Salisbury admitted borrowing zoo assets for use in his for-profit venture.

Corrada says the zoo president's fate is in the board's hands.

'As one member of the executive committee, it is my opinion that he cannot serve,' but Corrada emphasized that decision is the full responsibility of the zoo board.

The Lowry Park Zoo's full board is expected to meet next week to receive the final audit and discuss possible action.

Tampa City Auditor Roger Strout said Salisbury didn't appear to see any conflict of interest 'all of his responses to us have been that the assets he took have no value and he is helping out the zoo.'

FacebookYouTubeLinkedInFlickrTwitter
4202 East Fowler Avenue, TVB100, Tampa, FL 33620-6902 • © 2009 WUSF. All rights reserved.

Geo Visitors Map