Records: Vendors overpaid for off-duty Orlando firefighters

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ORLANDO, Fla. - WFTV obtained records that show vendors who paid off-duty Orlando firefighters in cash, in hopes of saving 15 percent on a city administration fee, paid more than they were supposed to.

Records from the firefighters union show different vendors paid different cash rates without any explanation, and some firefighters who should have been paid the same amount as one another, were not.

The off-duty pay records from the union for the November 2011 Orlando Calling concert show the vendor was charged more than $40,000 for the off-duty firefighters who worked the two-day event.

It was a part of a deal where a fire department higher-up told the vendor they could avoid paying the city a 15 percent administrative fee if he paid firefighters directly in cash.

According to records, however, the vendor paid more than 15 percent extra, even though he paid cash.

The vendor paid $1,075 dollars, but should have only paid $855 based on what the union said is the commander’s set rate.

If the city had administered the job, the vendor would have paid $983, which is still less than the $1,075 the vendor paid.

“We don’t even know if the firefighters were actually paid what the records said they were paid,” said union president Steve Clelland.

The concert promoter told Channel 9 he lost a lot of money.

“It’s been a big hole in the pocket I’ll tell you that. It’s been a tough one,” Melvin Benn said.

Benn said he lost a couple million dollars and that he’s never coming back to Orlando.