Though Doral Mayor Luigi Boria has pledged to raise $2.5 million in private donations for next year’s Miss Universe pageant — and to spare city taxpayers from paying anything — the city had no written documentation or signed contracts as of Monday.
“In just two weeks, we already collected more than $1 million in sponsorships,” Boria said at a press conference at the Trump National Doral last week. “We will not have to even touch taxpayer money. I have the utmost faith.”
He said spicemaker Badia, Baptist Health South Florida, PAWA Dominicana airlines and Codina (the developer building downtown Doral), among others, pledged to sponsor the Jan. 25 pageant.
Boria said businesses have committed to $1 million in sponsorships, but those monetary promises were oral, not written, according to the city manager’s office.
“At this time we do not have any responsive documents to provide,” City Manager Edward Rojas said when asked for written commitments of money.
Boria’s chief of staff, Alfredo Ortega, said the same thing.
Mayor Boria told the Miami Herald on Friday that all questions regarding contracts should be forwarded to the Miss Universe Organization.
“I have referred all sponsorship leads to the good people of the pageant,” Boria said. “It is my understanding that those commitments are being formalized.”
The Miss Universe Organization told the Herald to check with the city.
“I can’t imagine that would be something we would handle,” said Jackie Shahinian, public relations coordinator at the Miss Universe Organization. “This is the first time I’ve ever received a request such as this.”
The city has committed $500,000 in taxpayer funds, with Boria promising to raise another $2 million from private donors. He told taxpayers that their money wouldn’t have to be used because of how “successful fund-raising has been.”
But a $500,000 check was written to the Miss Universe Organization on Oct. 2, according to the city’s finance department.
However, assistant city manager Albert P. Childress said the check was in his possession and that it has not been sent out yet. Childress declined to say why it not been sent out.
According to the contract signed by the city of Doral and the Miss Universe Organization, the city was set to pay $500,000 within five days of signing the agreement, $1 million by Dec. 1, and the final $1 million by Feb 1.
That contract was presented on Sept. 12 after Boria called an emergency City Council meeting 24 hours earlier. It was signed Sept. 26.
There are no records of any checks to the city of Doral from any sponsors, the city confirmed Monday.
“Baptist Health South Florida is in conversations with the Miss Universe Organization about a potential healthcare partnership for the 63rd Miss Universe Pageant,” said Dori Robau Alvarez, spokeswoman for Baptist Health, in an email Monday. “Details have not been solidified yet.”
Representatives of Badia, PAWA Dominicana and Codina didn’t immediately return phone calls from the Miami Herald on Monday.
Carlos J. Gimenez, an attorney representing Donald Trump and the Miss Universe Organization, said the Miss Universe Organization has received either letters of intent or verbal confirmations from the announced sponsors who have made commitments, but said he could not release them “because they are private contracts.”
He added that written contracts will be sent out to sponsors and finalized this week.
Boria was joined by Trump, Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler, council members Sandra Ruiz and Ana Maria Rodriguez and Florida International University athletic director Pete Garcia at the Trump National Doral golf resort. The pageant, run by Trump, won’t actually happen in Doral — it will be at FIU’s U.S. Century Bank Arena.
Boria said events leading up to the pageant, including the coronation ball, parades and fashion shows, will take place in Doral.
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