Sanborn resigns from Santa Rosa TDC

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MILTON — Jack Sanborn, the owner of Adventures Unlimited, has resigned from the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Council. 

Sanborn was not at Thursday’s meeting, but Santa Rosa County Commissioner Bob Cole read a letter by Sanborn. In the letter, Sanborn stated that he needed to focus his attentions on the city of Milton that he loves and supports.

For nearly a month, Sanborn has received criticism and calls to resign after making a sexist remark towards a reporter at a May 17 TDC budget meeting. 

Navarre Press reporter Jamie Gentry spoke during discussion about funding a Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce event titled “Small Bites Under the Moonlight.” 

Before discussing the event, she said she has “zero opinion.”

Commissioner Sam Parker, the Board of County Commissioners representative on the TDC, said “Not all reporters believe that.” 

Laughter followed. Shortly thereafter, Sanborn said, “And you’re a female and no opinion.” 

“I really appreciate that sexism. It’s great,” Gentry replied.

Cole also read a letter written by Gentry and sent to the Commission.

“The comment that Mr. Sanborn made to me was in humor and I took it in humor,” Gentry wrote in her letter. 

Gentry added in her letter that she thought it was sad to see that the matter had escalated. 

The county investigated the incident. According to county administrator Dan Schebler at the June 11 meeting, the investigation concluded that there was no action needed against Sanborn. 

At the same meeting Mitchell said that she agreed that Sanborn’s comments to Gentry probably were made in humor and were not enough to have him removed from his post. Mitchell provided the commission with documents supporting her request for Sanborn’s resignation.

Sanborn had several complaints brought against him at the June 11 commission meeting for directing harsh comments towards his critics on social media.

Following the announcement of Sanborn’s resignation on Thursday, several local citizens gave their thoughts during the public hearing. 

George Jordan said that Sanborn and his wife have used social media to attack him and his wife, as well as others. 

“We feel damaged from this,” Jordan said. “It is not correct for this man to walk away and not own this situation that he has done wrong.” 

The commissioners voted unanimously to accept Sanborn’s resignation.

Sanborn wrote he feels that the latest attacks against him are “false, frivolous, and ludicrous” and are a distraction to his advocacy work for the city of Milton. 

“I have been a constant agent for progress in downtown Milton,” Sanborn wrote. “Milton has so much unrealized potential and I deeply believe this historical city deserves a beautiful, thriving downtown.”

The TDC is a nine-member advisory board to the Tourism Development Office.

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