Del Mar's Chief Lifeguard and two other Community Services employees are out of a job, fired after a city investigation revealed mismanagement of approximately $220,000 of tax money.
The revelation was the result of two independent investigations conducted by the City of Del Mar over the last four months.
Del Mar Mayor Terry Sinnott said the city's investigation indicates under Community Service Director and Chief Lifeguard Pat Vergne, the department waived or reduced permit fees for city owned spaces totaling more than $150,000.
"Over a three year period, we had 95 situations in which those fees were waived for various reasons," Sinnott said.
An employee was paid approximately $43,000 in falsely reported over time.
Another city employee was hired as an independent contractor, paid $23,000 and used a city credit card to buy personal items including a wet suit.
"It all amounts up to around $200,000--that is money the tax payers assume are going to be used properly and were not," Sinnott said.
Vergne is a popular figure on Del Mar beaches. For about 16 years, he has been a friend and cheerleader for the community.
He accused the City Manager of playing politics which lead to a second independent investigation. Those claims were determined to be unfounded.
"While you need to take into consideration a person's popularity, you also have to take into consideration how they are managing as a director of an organization," Sinnott said.
NBC 7 reached out to Vergne twice but he did not comment.
Over the duration of the investigation, Vergne was on paid leave.
Deputy Director Mark Rathsam is now running the department.
While the investigation uncovered $220,000 was misappropriated, Sinnott said the combined cost of both independent investigations will far exceed that.