CEO of VisitDallas Steps Down

Dallas' tourism agency underwent an audit, which was received critically, in January

The CEO of Dallas' tourism agency, which was audited earlier this year, is stepping down, VisitDallas said in a press release Wednesday.

Phillip Jones, who made $700,000 annually according to the audit, will leave after coming to a "mutual decision" with the VisitDallas board, the release said.

"It has been a privilege to lead VisitDallas during an important period of growth for the organization and now it's time for my next challenge," Jones said in a statement. "Together with my colleagues at VisitDallas, the City of Dallas and partners across the hospitality and tourism industry, we have positioned Dallas as the top visitor destination in Texas for meetings and events, and one of the top convention and visitor destinations in the nation. I'm proud of our accomplishments and know the organization is on track for continued success."

VisitDallas was audited for the first time in January, and the Dallas City Council was displeased with the report's findings.

The audit found that Jones exceeded VisitDallas' travel expense guidelines -- he even billed the agency for a $543 backpack.

The audit found weak city oversight of that money and also questioned VisitDallas performance claims.

"I'm completely unsatisfied, this is a scathing audit," city councilman Scott Griggs said Jan. 9. "It is really an indictment of how they do business over at VisitDallas and how they are misusing scarce taxpayer resources, and to me it is unacceptable. We really need to have a housecleaning over at VisitDallas."

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will announce an interim VisitDallas CEO Thursday.

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