By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An attorney for a group that promotes tourism in Philadelphia says they are “fully cooperating” with an investigation by the city district attorney into how the marketing agency dealt with a case of more than $200,000 that went missing.

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William Winning, attorney for the tourism agency “Visit Philadelphia,” confirms that the DA’s office is looking into the matter.

“I can tell you now that we are fully cooperating with an investigation that is now being conducted by the district attorney’s office,” he told KYW Newsradio this morning.

Winning says the matter involves “unauthorized expenditures” at the publicly funded agency covering several years, totaling $210,000.

He says Visit Philadelphia’s own internal probe — which included outside auditors — found that their chief financial officer at the time, Joyce Levitt, was responsible.

Winning says Levitt paid the money back and was shown the door.

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“The person responsible for this, Miss Levitt, agreed through counsel to repay the full amount, which she in fact did by giving the organization a check for $210,000 in full payment of the amount determined,” Winning says.  “Accordingly, all the funds in question were returned to the organization, restored to the organization.  She resigned as part of the resolution of this matter.”

Tasha Jamerson, a spokeswoman for district attorney Seth Williams, said she cannot comment on any case until charges are filed.

Winning, meanwhile, stands by the agency’s decision to handle the matter in-house:

“In my view it was done in an entirely appropriate manner.  It was handled internally.  The money was repaid on a rather prompt basis, and Miss Levitt resigned from the organization.”

Word of the investigation comes just days after city controller Alan Butkovitz released a report that said Visit Philadelphia’s marketing mission is somewhat redundant with that of another marketing group, the Philadelphia Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Butkovitz urged that the two groups be merged.

 

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