Orlando Sentinel via Associated Press
November 3, 2017
A television show hosted by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse is at the center of a brewing court battle pitting the Florida House against the producer of the cooking show.
The Republican-controlled House wants years of records detailing how the show spent millions of dollars paid out by the state’s tourism agency and how much was paid directly to Lagasse.
Tallahassee television producer Pat Roberts and his company MAT Media sued the House on Friday, contending that the records sought by the House include trade secrets and confidential business information. Attorneys for Roberts are asking a judge to block a subpoena issued by the House for the records.
Tim Jansen, one of the attorneys, blasted House Speaker Richard Corcoran for the subpoena.
“One politician in his drive for publicity, power and higher office has trampled over the rights of private businesses and individuals that properly contracted services with a quasi-state agency,” he said.
The show, called “Emeril’s Florida,” aired on The Cooking Channel and featured the chef touring the state and visiting some of Florida’s top restaurants. Visit Florida paid at least $10 million over a five year period for the show.
Visit Florida, which relies primarily on state funding, has made public the contract it has with MAT Media, but the House wants a long list of other records, including contracts the production company had with cable networks as well as federal tax returns. The House, which asked the company and Roberts to hand over the information voluntarily, also wants an accounting of how much money Roberts was paid directly for producing the show. A House panel approved the subpoena last month and has demanded that Roberts turn over the information by next Monday. [READ MORE]