The latest twist on the amazing Pitbull payment saga comes from Gov. Rick Scott, who on Friday called for Visit Florida’s CEO Will Seccombe to resign for trying mightily but vainly to keep secret the terms of a contract with the Miami music star to promote Florida beaches. This is a major about-face for a governor who has been no friend of transparency in government. Given that the governor sets the budget for this agency, Mr. Seccombe’s fate is sealed.
by Miami Herald’s Editorial Board
December 17, 2016
On Thursday, Pitbull released terms of the secret deal on Twitter, showing he made $1 million from Visit Florida to publicize the state’s tourism attractions on social media, in a music video and at live concerts. But he made the information public only after Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran sued the music star’s production company to force him to release the details.
Mr. Scott could have ended this controversy months ago. Transparency advocates began clamoring for release of the information, to which they were plainly entitled, as soon as it became clear that the public that coughed up the money in the form of taxes would be kept in the dark about the amount being spent to inform all those people who’ve been living under a rock that Florida has great beaches.
Instead, he chose to keep quiet while Mr. Seccombe steadfastly refused to divulge the payment amount. The deal with Pitbull, the Visit Florida chief said, might be considered a “trade secret.”
Only three weeks ago, Mr. Scott stood proudly by Mr. Seccombe at a press conference in Jacksonville as he announced that 85 million people had visited Florida during the first three quarters of the year, a record. About the uproar over the secret contract at that news conference? Nary a word of dissent from the state’s chief executive. [READ MORE]