Doral writes $1 million check for Miss Universe pageant

As expected, the city of Doral sent a $1 million check to the Miss Universe Organization on Dec. 3, records show.

It’s the second of three checks the city will pay the Miss Universe pageant it committed to host for $2.5 million. The first check for $500,000 was sent Oct. 2.

The final check for $1 million is due by Feb 1.

The hosting agreement entitles Doral to three minutes of air time during the pageant.

The city hopes to regain this investment and more by making sponsorship deals with local businesses to help diffuse the cost of the hosting agreement. In advance of that, the payments are being drawn from the city’s reserves. Money will be reimbursed as deals finalize.

Some residents have expressed concern because no written contracts have been revealed to date, even though the city has reassured them that sponsorships are in the works.

At a Nov. 24 special meeting, City Manager Edward Rojas said the Miss Universe Organization has made deals with several businesses, in total committing to $1,020,000 in sponsorships. The companies include Badia Spices, Baptist Health, Santa Barbara Airlines, Lennar and Codina developers and Shoma Homes.

At the same meeting, council members amended the contract, handing over responsibility for all incoming sponsorship agreements to the Miss Universe Organization. So instead of negotiating with city officials, businesses will deal directly with pageant personnel.

The Miss Universe Organization explained that the contracts are private, and has not made any written contracts available to the Miami Herald.

Miss Universe Organization spokesman Shawn McClain told the Herald Friday that the organization is working with sponsors to make sure taxpayers’ dollars aren’t used.

The pageant will be held Jan. 25 at the Florida International University arena, located a few miles from Doral in unincorporated Miami-Dade. According to McClain, some Doral-based events leading up to the pageant will include:

▪ A health talk at the Trump National Doral sponsored by Baptist Health.

▪ A welcome event at Downtown Doral Park at City Hall; the city is in the process of finalizing a sponsor.

▪ A giant fitness class at Downtown Doral Park, sponsored by Zumba.

▪ A cook-off at FIU Biscayne Campus, sponsored by Badia Spices.

▪ A gift auction at the Intercontinental in Doral; sponsored by Best Buddies.

▪ A gala, most likely to be held at the Trump National Doral.

Follow @MoniqueOMadan on Twitter.