SAFETY HARBOR — The former BayWalk interim manager accused of stealing $171,000 from a former employee in January died Wednesday at Bayfront Medical Center after a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Howard S. Rosenthal, 53, was wounded by a .22-caliber weapon and was flown to Bayfront Medical Center, according to sheriff's spokeswoman Marianne Pasha. Efforts to save Rosenthal were unsuccessful.
About 10 law enforcement units, including homicide and crime scene investigation teams, went to Philippe Park after several people reported the incident about 7:40 a.m. Pasha said Rosenthal was discovered slumped over a bench near Shelter 7 near the upper Tampa Bay coastline.
Authorities searched his car and the area, but found no notes.
Rosenthal, of 527 Harbor Groves Circle, was charged with grand theft, accused of stealing almost $171,000 from the commercial real estate company where he previously worked, just as he landed a job at BayWalk.
According to police, he doubled-billed Clearwater firm Colliers Arnold for more than $140,000 in advertising costs. He also used Colliers Arnold money to pay off country club dues, travel expenses for himself and his wife, and nearly $700 in hotel movie charges, detectives said.
Rosenthal had a pretrial hearing set for June 29.