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D.R. Horton buys defunct Bookit.com headquarters in Panama City Beach for $5 million

Panama City News Herald logo Panama City News Herald 1/10/2022 Nathan Cobb, The News Herald
In the wake of an ongoing scandal where many customers claim they were ripped off by Bookit.com, D.R. Horton has purchased the group's office in Panama City Beach. © NEWS HERALD FILE PHOTO In the wake of an ongoing scandal where many customers claim they were ripped off by Bookit.com, D.R. Horton has purchased the group's office in Panama City Beach.

PANAMA CITY BEACH — A defunct local travel agency accused of leaving customers high and dry has sold its headquarters to a nationwide home construction company.

According to Dan Sowell, property appraiser for Bay County, Bookit.com sold its office at 14251 Panama City Beach Parkway on Dec. 16 to D.R. Horton for almost $5 million. 

"I have no idea," Sowell said of what D.R. Horton will do with the facility. "It's good to see the building purchased. That's a good thing, (and) I'm sure they've got plans for it. They're building a lot of homes in this area."

Florida attorney general: investigating Panama City Beach Bookit.com

More: Whatever happened to Bookit.com in Panama City Beach

Attempts to contact the construction company were unsuccessful prior to deadline. 

BookIt.com shuttered fairly soon in 2020 after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which basically halted most travel for months. Customers then quickly found themselves in a battle with the company to recover their deposits. 

Information on the Florida Attorney General's website notes that Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has been working to help customers recover more than $7 million from the third-party travel agency. 

"The company allegedly failed to disclose to customers that it did not have funds for current bookings in the absence of new incoming bookings and thousands of customers in Florida and nationwide were left with no trip and initially no money back," the website states. 

It adds that Moody's office filed a lawsuit and a proposed consent judgement that requires Bookit.com to pay more than $445,000 in travel deposits back to customers involved in her investigation. 

The company has already paid more than $6.7 million in relief since Moody's office launched its investigation last year. 

The website also states that Bookit.com, which was know for offering discounted and often non-refundable travel packages ranging from less than $100 to more than $10,000, cooperated with the investigation.

The company states the cancellations were due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“Throughout the pandemic, we worked closely with Floridians to ensure they were not being taken advantage of and through that process we heard from consumers nationwide about thwarted travel plans and other issues they were experiencing with BookIt," Moody said in the information posted to the website. "I am pleased that our involvement in this matter has resulted in millions of dollars in relief for those affected.”

This article originally appeared on The News Herald: D.R. Horton buys defunct Bookit.com headquarters in Panama City Beach for $5 million

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