Agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam's daughter, Abigail, caused a stir when fertilizer giant Mosaic paid $10,000 this week for a chocolate hazelnut cake she entered into a Youth Fair Auction in Polk County. Fair officials said it was an unprecedented sum for an auction cake.
Speaking at a Capital Tiger Bay Club meeting on Friday, Putnam said the incident created two crises.
First, his 8-year-old daughter, Libby, who also entered contest, lost to her older sister. Then came news of the $10,000 award. Abigail wanted to give the county fair $9,000, her 4-H Club $500 and keep $500 for herself, the usual going rate for auction cakes. But the award would have violated the state's gift ban.
And so, Putnam negotiated with his daughter, offering to buy her an iPod instead. She countered that she wanted three iPods, so her sisters, including 7-year-old Emma, could have them as well.
"It's been extremely awkward and embarrassing," Putnam said. "And it's gone viral."
Some club members wanted a copy of the recipe, but Putnam said he just wants it all to go away.
Mosaic officials expressed embarrassment yesterday over the incident, saying they had "initiated an aggressive investigation" into the matter. Putnam said he was told the woman who made the bid had not told her supervisors that she was making the offer on the cake.