Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Nice work, if you can get it

And you can get it if you threaten to cry:

The Orlando Magic paid a political consultant and frequent tax critic $200,000 not to oppose plans for a recently announced new arena, the club has disclosed.

The payments were made at two different points to Doug Guetzloe, who also hosts a local radio show billed as "The Voice of the People." The Magic gave him $100,000 to support a similar stadium push in 2001 and another $100,000 this year.

....The Magic's payments were made in support of a $1 billion downtown overhaul - delivering a new arena, renovated Citrus Bowl and new performing arts center.

"We were told that there was an offer by those in the minority that oppose the three community venues to hire him if we did not," Magic chief operating officer Alex Martins said in a written statement.

.... The Magic weren't the only ones paying Guetzloe. A Kissimmee resort gave him $87,000 when it pursued public money to expand a convention center, and the local expressway authority has paid him $107,500 to evaluate opposition to toll increases despite his heavy criticism of the agency.

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