Dan Krassner, Co-Founder and Executive Director Integrity Florida, and Ben Wilcox, Research Director Integrity Florida, in an email state, “The lavish travel and wasteful government purchasing practices of Enterprise Florida, a taxpayer supported entity serving as the privatized commerce department for the State of Florida, was detailed in an investigative report by Michael Buczyner, WPEC/CBS 12 titled ‘State-run agency accused of abusing taxpayers dollars‘ on February 25. The Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) is responsible for the state’s contract with Enterprise Florida, but it has clearly turned a blind eye to this waste and abuse of the taxpayers’ money.”
“Enterprise Florida travel guidelines do not comply with official state travel restrictions, even though the entity is using taxpayer funds allocated by the state legislature. According to an internal audit prepared on March 15, 2012 by McGladrey, only three Enterprise Florida executives, Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope, Chief Operating Officer Griff Salmon and Chief Marketing Officer Melissa Medley, all former employees of the Mississippi Development Authority, gained ‘unlimited signing authority’ on February 7, 2012, to execute contracts and make significant purchases of non-economic development goods and services,” note Krassner and Wilcox.
Since the new authority was granted to these top three executives at Enterprise Florida, here is a sampling of the organization’s questionable expenses:
- Nearly $22,000 spent on New York Yankee Luxury Suites and related purchases.
- More than $13,000 spent at the San Diego Zoo.
- $12,000 spent on Texas Rangers baseball.
- More than $7,000 spent at Cowboys Stadium.
- More than $4,000 spent on Atlanta Braves baseball.
- More than $4,000 spent on limousine services.
- Nearly $3,300 spent at Truluck’s Seafood Steak & Crab House in Austin, Texas.
- More than $2,500 spent at the 21 Club.
- More than $2,000 spent at 4Rivers Smokehouse.
- More than $1,300 spent on a charter fishing boat.
- Roughly another $30,000 per month spent on American Express credit cards for unknown expenditures.
- Thousands more on airfare, luxury resorts and hotels, expensive meals and limousine services.
The people of Florida deserve accountability and transparency within every aspect of our government. Given the appearance of impropriety, an inspector general report is needed to determine whether the taxpayer resources that support Enterprise Florida are properly protected and whether corrective action is needed. A company this large, supported by hard-working Florida families, must be held to the highest ethical standards.
Integrity Florida letter to Governor Rick Scott “Eliminate government waste at Enterprise Florida, investigat
Enterprise Florida Internal Audit by McGladrey – March 15, 2012 (read more)
Enterprise Florida, Inc. Vendor Payments – January 1, 2012 to August 28, 2013 (read more)
Enterprise Florida receives more than 97% of its funding from taxpayers (read more on page 24) (watch video starting at 1:00:20 about an hour into the video)
- $57.4 million total 2012-13 budget for Enterprise Florida
- $56 million (97.6%) in government/public/taxpayer-funded sources
- $1.4 million (2.4%) from the private sector
Bipartisan efforts to hold Enterprise Florida accountable with bills filed for the 2014 legislative session:
- Applies state ethics code to Enterprise Florida staff – CS/SB 846: Governmental Ethics GENERAL BILL by Senate Ethics and Elections Commission; Senator Jack Latvala (read more)
- Strengthening Enterprise Florida disclosure practices and fiscal accountability SB 1270: Economic Incentive Programs GENERAL BILL by Senator Eleanor Sobel (read more)
- Strengthening Enterprise Florida disclosure practices and fiscal accountability HB 1103: Economic Incentive Programs GENERAL BILL by Representative Jose Javier Rodriguez (read more)