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Visit Florida CEO resigns after Pitbull unveils $1 million contract

Rapper Pitbull performs during the 15th Mawazine World Rhythms International Music Festival in Rabat, Morocco.

(Reuters File)

At the request of Florida Gov. Rick Scott, the president and CEO of the state’s official tourism marketing arm, Visit Florida, step down from the position.

On Friday, Scott asked CEO Seccombe immediate dismissal amid growing controversy over a seven-figure contract with Miami-based rapper Pitbull who is the governor once praised for his “devotion to our great state.”

Seccombe, who makes $ 120,000 annually, refused to publicly disclose how much Pitbull was spent on promoting the state, despite House Speaker Richard Corcoran insist that the taxpayers had the right to know how their money is spent.

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Trade secret, Seccombe said. But Corcoran filed a lawsuit.

Pitbull broke the deadlock, tweeting “FULL DISCLOSURE – FLORIDA” with a link to the 11-page agreement that he signed with the produce and appear in “Sexy Beaches” video and promoting the hashtag #LOVEFL on his social media sites and during concerts.

But what stood in the legnthy contract is the bottom line: the rapper was paid $1 million.

Pitbull’s tweet quickly drew the attention of A. s. Rick Scott, who had the last word. He asked Seccombe to resign, and he early Visit to Florida to start publishing its spending, contracts, salaries, audits and other financial information, Billboard reported.

In an e-mail, Visit Florida spokesman Tim DeClaire said Seccombe, who has led the agency since 2012 and was the chief marketing officer for almost five years earlier, was “in consultation” with the governor. DeClaire added that the agency’s chief financial officer and chief marketing officer positions were also eliminated.

Scott, in a letter to William Talbert, who chairs Visit to Florida ‘ s board of directors, said the shakeup was all about transparency, not about Pitbull or his video or his lyrics.

“The idea that Visit Florida expenditure would not be transparent for the taxpayers is just ridiculous,” Scott wrote. “We need major reforms on the Visit of Florida in the weeks ahead that require new leadership.”

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“I appreciate Pitbull and his devotion to our great state,” Scott wrote. “His willingness to help promote tourism in Florida is a great example for other artists to follow.”

According to Orlando Weekly, Florida has seen a big increase in the number of visitors over the past five years, 87.3 million in 2011 to 106 million tourists last year.

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