¡Dale! Richard Corcoran is taking Pitbull from sexy beaches to a stuffy courtroom after the South Florida rapper's production company failed to disclose how much taxpayers spent for a television ad to promote Florida tourism.
The TV spot features Pitbull and various women in swimsuits dancing on the beach and drinking in Miami coupled with sexually suggestive lyrics. It came under fire after PDR Productions refused to disclose just how much Pitbull was shelled for the four-minute ad.
PDR Productions called the contract with Pitbull a “trade secret,” which means disclosing that information could lead to a third-degree felony.
Corcoran and House attorneys disagreed, saying they didn’t believe there was a trade secret at work when it came to Pitbull’s contract.
On Tuesday, Corcoran took action.
House attorneys filed suit against the company, claiming the state’s tourism agency, Visit Florida, resisted the House Appropriation Committee’s effort to obtain the contract based on advice from PDR’s lawyers that the information must be kept confidential.
Attorneys say Visit Florida ultimately handed over a copy of the contract to the House, but not before PDR’s legal counsel meddled in the business, advising the House Appropriations Committee the contract was confidential and not to be shared.
That, Corcoran says, impedes on lawmakers’ requirements to be transparent and to ensure public funds are properly spent. PDR’s threats of a lawsuit, attorneys wrote, presents a “real and immediate need” for a declaration of the House’s right to disclose the terms of the contract.
“We operate from fundamental and immovable principles in the House. Two of those principles are that taxpayers have a right to hold those who spend their money accountable and that when asked, those responsible for that spending are transparent,” Corcoran said in a statement Tuesday.
In the complaint, Corcoran filed suit seeking a judicial declaration that there are no trade secrets in the contract with PDR. The Land O’Lakes Republican is also seeking a declaration to shield House members and committee staff from any civil liability to PDR.
The lawsuit, Corcoran says, isn’t directed at attacking Pitbull personally. What’s more important, the Speaker says, is being transparent and open with taxpayer money.
“This is about the audacity of government entities who are under the false impression that they are above the law or believe somehow that taxpayer money is a never ending river of riches they get to play with,” he explained. “The House will protect the taxpayers and will utilize all means at our disposal to hold government accountable.”
Gov. Rick Scott lambasted the contract in a series of tweets posted Tuesday.
“This is ridiculous and must be fixed,” he wrote. “Taxpayers have a right to know how their money is spent.”
Scott did not, however, condemn Visit Florida or Pitbull outright and instead seemed to defend the agency which Corcoran threatened to axe in this year’s budget.
“Those who think FL shouldn't run anymore TV ads/ promote tourism in any way to FL don't have an understanding of how our economy works and how important tourism is to economic growth and job creation,” Scott said.