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Nancy Smith

Who Cares What John Textor Thinks?

March 28, 2013 - 7:00pm

How come The Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times gives any credence at all to the man who bilked the state out of $20 million?

Could it be because this leftstream newspaper couple has to dab a little make-up on Charlie Crist's black eye?

Interesting that the Herald/Times runs a blogon Thursday, "Digital Domain CEO hits back at damning IG report, blames Scott-Crist politics," entirely about slippery, back-door deals and a not-quite-the-full-story email in 2009, yet the newspaper's entire Digital Domain mop-up story is spent implicating a governor who was nowhere near the Capitol until 2010.

Maybe it's the law to smack Rick Scott around a little if you're the Herald/Times. But implicating him in decisions made a year before he was elected is taking it a little too far, don't you think?

The Herald/Times perhaps took a look at Inspector General Melinda Miguel's 130-page report released Wednesday, and discoveredJohn Textor, CEO of Digital Domain, sold his glitzy Hollywood animation dreams to a gullible, legacy-seeking Gov. Charlie Crist in 2009. Crist and legislative leaders then circumvented the state's vetting process to hand over $20 million in exchange for jobs Textor would bring to Florida.

Only, he didn't. Well, he did and he didn't. Textor brought the jobs, soon went broke, laid off his staff, closed down the lavish Port St. Lucie studio and officially filed bankruptcy.

Luckily, if you're the Herald/Times, Charlie Crist isn't so much at fault as Rick Scott. And, if you listen to John Textor, which the Herald/Times did, it's none of John Textor's fault either.

The Herald/Times says "Textor believes that he and others are being thrown under the bus as a way for Gov. Rick Scott to attack the Crist administration ..."

Under the bus? Gee. Here I thought Textor felt thrown under the bus because the entire city of Port St. Lucie goes to sleep at night clinging to that happy thought.

Remember Port St. Lucie? After Crist signed the 20 million taxpayer dollars over to Digital Domain,Port St. Lucie handed Textor $10 million in cash, tied up a $10.5 million piece of land in its master-planned Tradition community and financed the deal with a $39.9 million bond. I'm sure Port St. Lucie wants to hear everything Textor has to say.

And then, referring to the Scott administration, Textor told the Herald/Times, "'They want to talk about a three-year-old process because somebody's election is coming up."

This would have been a good place for the Herald/Times to point out the reason to talk about a "three-year-old process" in an internal investigation at budget time, to see if the same shoddy appropriation could happen again. And, by the way, the answer in the report is "yes."

Presumably, the story's tour de force was an email Textor produced, showing Scott and Enterprise Florida were wrong to claim EF "discredited" Digital Domain's proposal and only recommended funding it to the tune of $6.1 million.

Textor showed the Herald/Times a memo from 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."

"Total potential FL economic incentive package." Potential? The Herald didn't see this as being just a teeny-weenie bit out of context and maybe ask what it meant?

The story actually says, "Scott blamed the deal on 'the previous administration,' but his handpicked lieutenant governor had an opportunity to raise a flag about the deal back in 2009."

It's true, Jennifer Carroll was the chairman of the Economic Policy Committee in 2009, but she wasn't anybody's handpicked lieutenant -- and probably didn't meet Scott until 2010.

By the way, Scott and everybody else who wants to should feel free to blame Charlie Crist for the Digital Domain debacle. It happened on his watch and by his hand.

Well, according to the Herald/Times, Textor is just plain fed up "seeing what he described as a coordinated effort to turn an unfortunate bankruptcy into a political ammunition for Gov. Scott against Crist."

Yes, that's what the story said, "unfortunate bankruptcy." The man still accepts responsibility for nothing.

More than anything else -- as a former resident of Port St. Lucie, I was sorry to see the Herald/Times care one iota about, let alone take as gospel, anything John Textor has to say.

Reach Nancy Smith at or at (850) 727-0859.

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