ORLANDO, Fla. - Nearly $1 million Orlando tax dollars were supposed to help rebuild the historic Carver Theatre, but WFTV found out the organization that received the money cannot show where it went.
In 2008, the city gave the Carver Theatre developers $878,000 to be used during construction, but Black Business Investment Fund, which already owed the city nearly $1 million, has nothing to show for the money.
BBIF recently came under fire from the state for its administrative fees.
Then City Commissioner Daisy Lynum was a member of the BBIF board when the city gave the organization the $878,000.
A spokesperson said the money went to plans for the project, but BBIF could not or would not produce those plans.
The city eventually provided a set of plans and invoiced, but WFTV learned the plans were created in 2007 and the City Council never saw the incentive agreement until 2008.
And every invoice the city provided dating back to 2007 was also paid before the incentive agreement was approved.
The city’s explanation is that the money went toward upfront costs.
“The distressing thing for any taxpayer looking at the mayor’s request for increased tax dollars is there doesn’t seem to be a good system of control in the past,” said county government watchdog Doug Head.
The spokesperson for the BBIF declined to comment on the issue.
On Monday, the City Council is set to approve an agreement with BBIF, which would allow it to repay the money over the next 20 years, interest free.