Hospitality Association chairman speaks out

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH, AP) -- South Carolina Hospitality Association Chairman Rick Erwin is scheduled to speak to reporters at 4 p.m. Thursday.

The Hospitality Association is at the center of a federal investigation into hundreds of thousands of dollars which may have led to the suicide of its founder.

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Sources indicate to WACH Fox News that the association will release the initial findings of an independent audit of its finances. Erwin contracted a Columbia accounting firm to review the association's book in late February when it was revealed the U.S. Secret Service was investigating the agency.

People close to the situation say auditors have found multiple ways that money was being embezzled from the South Carolina Hospitality Association.

The agency's former accounting director Rachel Duncan is a person of interest in the case. She was officially terminated by the group last week.

Association founder Tom Sponseller was found dead last month from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a room behind two locked doors in the parking garage under the association's office.

Police had searched the garage three other times after he went missing 10 days before and not found him.

Sponseller's suicide note mentioned his disappointment at hundreds of thousands of dollars missing from the organization he built over decades.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)