9 Investigates

9 Investigates: Questions surround shake-up of Medical City research facility

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — 9 Investigates is digging deeper into the sudden departure of the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute at Lake Nona and what it means for Orlando’s Medical City.

The research facility is leaving after receiving tens of millions of tax dollars as an incentive to come to Orlando.

9 Investigates’ Shannon Butler talked to the man who brokered the original deal.

Former Mayor Rich Crotty said leaders need to take a close look at the deal.

He said there are just too many things not being said by Sanford Burhan.

The facility is private, but it took millions of dollars from taxpayers, and it hasn’t provided a clear answer as to why it’s leaving.

Sanford Burnham was built as the anchor tenant of Lake Nona’s Medical City.

It got $350 million to make Orlando its home.

Crotty said he was blindsided by the move.

“There has to be an expectation that it’s a pretty permanent commitment that exists there to give a large sum of money to an organization,” said Crotty.

Sanford Burnham has not yet spoken publicaly about what sources first told Butler on Monday night.

In a statement Tuesday, the facility would only say that there was a partnership with the University of Florida.

It could not answer questions about what that partnership looks like, what research it will be doing and what will happen to the job.

“First, they need to tell the residents of Central Florida if they aren’t going to be here, why is it that the financial commitment was made with our taxpayer dollars?” said Crotty.

Sources told Butler there were signs months ago that something could be changing.

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