Digital Domain CEO slams IG report, says it's a Scott-Crist thing
Digital Domain debacle, take two.
The former CEO of Digital Domain is hitting back with an alternative script after an Inspector General report slammed the process that helped the now-defunct Port St. Lucie film studio get $20 million in taxpayer grants.
John Textor said the claim by Gov. Rick Scott and
In fact, Textor said,
An email Textor provided to the Herald/Times shows that an Enterprise Florida representative wrote Textor on March 18, 2009, saying that the organization would “present to [the Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development] relative to a one-time award of $6.1 million” and other awards for a “total potential FL economic incentive package” of $11.4 million. The email, not included in the IG report, said Digital Domain would be required to create 300 jobs.
EFI never went through with a recommendation to OTTED (which is required for economic incentives grants to be awarded), but Textor has a very different explanation for why that did not happen.
Textor believes that he and others are being thrown under the bus as a way for Gov. Scott to attack the Crist administration, which was in charge when Digital Domain received funding by getting special language tacked onto the state's budget.
“They want to talk about a three year old process because somebody’s election is coming up,” he said, arguing that the current narrative about Digital Domain’s demise is politically motivated.
According to Textor,
Email evidence from 2009 does support Textor’s narrative that
Scott blamed the deal on “the previous administration,” but his handpicked lieutenant governor had an opportunity to raise a flag about the deal back in 2009. During a hearing of the Economic Policy Committee in 2009, Rep. Carl Domino listed several concerns about the deal and said all funds should be frozen and returned to the state. Carroll, chair of that committee, opened up an inquiry. But she later wrote a letter to Crist saying that all her concerns had been addressed and she believed that there was “no impropriety in awarding [funds to] Mr. Textor and his business…”
Textor said that all the evidence points to the fact that his company did nothing improper in obtaining taxpayer funds, and he’s frustrated seeing what he described as a coordinated effort to turn an unfortunate bankruptcy into a political ammunition for Gov. Scott against Crist.
Read our earlier post on the IG report here.