Associated Industries of Florida, the lobbying group that is working this year for the pro-casino "destination resorts" bill, has launched an ad promoting the effort Saturday, running for two weeks.
Why AIF? Consider this: Erika Alba, the chair of AIF, is also a lawyer for Foley & Lardner, the law firm that is the chief lobbyist for Genting's Resorts World Miami, the Malaysia casino giant hoping to bring a destination resort to Florida.
The ad, which sources say is a media buy that exceeds $100,000, is scheduled to run on cable and news stations in North Florida. One primary target -- Florida legislators -- are in town for a very busy committee week. The House Business and Consumer Affairs Committee is scheduled to a staff presentation on gaming in Florida on Tuesday and, on Wednesday, the Senate Regulated Industries Committee convenes its second workshop on the destination resorts bill.
No Casinos, the Disney-backed group that is opposing the legislation, was the first to hit the airwaves, running an anti-casino ad in Tallahassee during the last round of committee weeks in October. The group says it has no plans to replay the ads again this week.
Just as the Chamber of Commerce is working against the bill on behalf of its chairman, Anthony Connelly, a vice president at Disney, so AIF is lobbying on behalf of its chairwoman. How does the rest of the business world feel about these conflicting positions? AIF labels itself "The Voice of Florida Business." The Chamber calls itself "Florida's Business Advocate."