Tallahassee Democrat by Arek Sarkissian
November 7, 2017
A House committee will ask a Leon County judge to enforce a subpoena handed to a TV producer who received $11.6 million in taxpayer dollars to produce a celebrity cooking show for VISIT FLORIDA.
The subpoenas issued by the House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee gave Tallahassee-based MAT Media until Monday to turn over 23 financial documents into the production of a cable TV show with celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse. The chamber received nothing as of Tuesday.
“In any case, if there is no response, this is the next step litigation will usually take,” Committee Chairman Larry Metz said on Tuesday. “It’s asking a judge to intervene.”
MAT Media and owner Pat Roberts are fighting the subpoena. Lawyer Tim Jansen filed a motion on Roberts’ behalf in Leon County court on Friday that argued the requested documents are protected as trade secrets. Jansen also argued the House inquiry was politically motivated.
In response to the motion, House Speaker Richard Corcoran vowed to fight for the records. Gov. Rick Scott said he was unfamiliar with the details of the case but hoped all vendors would be transparent.
“If you’re doing business with state government you ought to be transparent,” Scott said. “We ought to know how the money is being spent, and I know my expectation is that we will figure how we get a return on the dollars we spend.” [READ MORE]