TAMPA (FOX 13) - The head of Florida's tourism agency resigned and two top deputies were fired after scrutiny on the agency reached a boiling point over the contract for Pitbull's music video, "Sexy Beaches."
Pitbull performed in Tampa Saturday night at 93.3 FLZ's Jingle Ball. Even fans questioned his million-dollar contract to represent Florida.
"I feel like that's a kind of waste unless he's doing it a lot a lot. But I feel like it's just going down the drain," said Briana Malphus. Fan Courtney Walsh said she thinks tax dollars could have been spent in a better way.
"I think money could be going to different aspects. I love Florida. I think everyone should come here but really paying a celebrity to promote it that's a little shady," Walsh said.
The gleaming shots of Florida, the knowing winks from Pitbull, were all bought and paid for by Florida taxpayers.
"We have accountability for the taxpayers," said House speaker Richard Corcoran (R-Land O'Lakes). "They have every right to know how every penny that they give to the government, how it's spent and whether it is a good investment."
The right to put Pitbull on Visit Florida's videos cost a total of a $1 million.
The breakdown is as follows: $250,000 for use of his name and image, $250,000 for the video, $300,000 for the hashtag #lovefl on his Twitter account (which is followed by more than 20 million people), and another $200,000 for several advertising campaigns.
Visit Florida insists the year-long campaign generated $9 million in tourism.
"We had a significant return," said CEO Will Seccombe. "We don't ever do anything based on gut instinct. This was a strategically based decision."
But for months, Seccombe said release of the contract could reveal Pitbull's trade secrets.
After threatening to strip the agency of funding, the Florida House sued Pitbull's managers, who released the contract Thursday.
"We will zero out every single dollar Visit Florida gets until that contract is public," said Corcoran.
Friday, CEO Will Seccombe fired two deputies.
But that wasn't enough to stop Gov. Rick Scott from demanding that Seccombe resign, saying the agency's success requires transparency.
The Miami Herald says Visit Florida's budget has grown from $29 million to $78 million since 2009, and that visitors to Florida have gone from 82 million people to 106 million during the same time period.
But the "Sexy Beaches" dustup signals new scrutiny of how Visit Florida does business.
"The reality is we are going to cut it regardless," said Corcoran. "There's no explanation, there is no justifiable correlation between tourism and taxpayer dollars."
In his letter, Governor Scott also demanded the agency board publish its spending and reports on how effectively that money is spent.
He also demanded all contracts be posted online.