Last week, watchdog group Integrity Florida released a report that concluded questionable bonuses, conflicts of interest and a 'pay to play' mentality was hampering the efforts of Enterprise Florida, Florida's public-private job development agency. The increased scrutiny of what the state pays to lure companies to Florida come as lawmakers start to lay the foundation for the coming year's budget, against a backdrop of the governor's request for more spending on economic development.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is asking state lawmakers for half a million dollars in order to recoup a $20-million investment in the now-defunct digital animation studio, Digital Domain.
And according to local experts, Florida has a tough fight ahead to get its money back.
The state originally gave Digital Domain $20 million in incentives in order to lure the company--and jobs--to Port St. Lucie. Four months ago, the firm filed for bankruptcy, shut down and let go 300 Florida workers.
Gov. Rick Scott is Chairman of the Enterprise Florida board. His first term in office has been focused on growing jobs in Florida, but another government contract recently went to an out-of-state firm.