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"Orlando Airport to require contracts before giving money to nonprofits"
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Airport to require contracts before giving money to nonprofits
By Dan Tracy
The Orlando (FL) Sentinel
The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority indicated Wednesday that it will seek
signed contracts from now on for money it gives to nonprofits such as the
Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The authority has given money to civic groups without a written agreement,
including the chamber and some of its related groups.
That can lead to misunderstandings, said authority board member Frank
"It's left things to anybody's interpretation," said Kruppenbacher, who
sought for and received a report from airport officials on how much money it
gives to nonprofits.
Kruppenbacher's request came after a series of stories in the Orlando
Sentinel detailing how tax dollars have been given to the Central Florida
Partnership and its subsidiaries such as the chamber.
The four-page memo from Airport Director Phil Brown said almost $110,000 was
sent to nonprofits during the 2011-12 fiscal year. United Arts received the
biggest check, $50,000, while the chamber got $7,600. Neither had a signed
Since 2005, Workforce Central Florida, a taxpayer funded jobs agency, has
given more than $250,000 to the partnership and its related groups. Other
agencies receiving tax dollars have given to the partnership, too, including
an arm called myregion.org, that has received about $2 million since 2002.
Overall, the airport authority has given $63,255, with a little less than
half going to myregion.org, according to a memo Central Florida Partnership
President Jacob Stuart recently sent to members.
Kruppenbacher, whose sister-in-law Shelley Lauten is president of myregion,
said he was not objecting to the contributions, just that they should be
done in a "transparent" manner.
It is important that contracts are made so both sides understand "here is
what we are paying you for. Here is what we will get," he said.
Authority Chairman Cesar Calvet said he supports having contracts with
nonprofits and defended the chamber and its groups. "I'm a great believer,"
Brown said the chamber and affiliated arms helped the airport market itself
to airlines, aided top officials in strategy sessions and provided access to
top business executives in the area.
Board members did not comment publicly on Kruppenbacher's remarks Wednesday
nor did they vote on any policy changes. But Brown said after the meeting
that Kruppenbacher's suggestions would be followed.
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, who also serves on the airport board,
made a similar request about contributions to chamber groups from the
Orlando Orange County Expressway Authority. Jacobs serves on the expressway
In an email to the Sentinel, Stuart said that chamber-related groups "will
be more than pleased to work with members of the GOAA team to provide a
positive and immediate response to any recommendations they may have
regarding this or any other matter."
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