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 Enterprise Florida that
the Digital Domain deal was some kind of widely discredited proposal that had
been blacklisted by Enterprise
Florida, only to be slipped into
the budget later by aggressive lawmakers and Gov. Charlie Crist—is complete
In fact, Textor said, Enterprise
Florida actually recommended that Florida taxpayers chip
in about $11.4 million to help Digital Domain bring jobs to the state.
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
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.
According to Enterprise
Florida’s account, the
organization refused to support funding because Digital Domain’s finances were “extremely
weak” and its business model was suspect.
Textor has a different story, and questions Enterprise Florida’s
credibility by pointing out that the organization believed Digital Domain’s
business plan was strong enough to receive an $11.4 million incentives package.
Textor believes that he and others are being thrown under
the bus as a way for Gov. Rick 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.