ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County’s Comptroller says the county likely missed out on millions of dollars in revenue because the Orange County Convention Center undercharged vendors for a period of time.
What You Need To Know
- Audit shows the Convention Center undercharged customers $454,120 over 82 days
- The county potentially lost more than $2 million for the year
- Audit calls for a manager to approve and account for changes
An audit shows that during a nearly 3-month period in late 2017 and early 2018, the Convention Center undercharged customers by $454,120 over an 82-day period.
Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond estimated the county potentially lost out on more than $2 million in revenue over the course of the entire year.
The convention center’s executive director responded to the audit saying it has the ability under county code to negotiate prices, often to stay competitive with other convention centers across the country. But Diamond said any changes should be approved by a manager and accounted for.
“Typically this would be close to the time the show has started or if the show has already started, so I don’t think it’s accurate to say this really relates to trying to get conventions to come here,” he said.
“There were 87 different people that might have access to these bills during the time that we looked at it,” Diamond added.
“That’s a lot of different people to have a lot of access over a lot of money. So one of our recommendation is they get manager sign off.”
Convention officials said they’re making changes to account for any price adjustments in the future. An overall lack of revenue due to the pandemic has forced the county to suspend a planned expansion at the convention center that was set to begin this fall.
Convention center worker salaries are frozen, and many employees are reassigned within the county.
A convention center spokesperson says the revenue in question is a fraction of the nearly $80 million in revenue the convention center brings in annually. That figure is expected to be significantly less this year thanks to most conventions canceling.
Catherine Ojeda says most of her Redi Pedi Cab Company customers were people in town for conventions. When conventions stopped happening, so did the need for her business. She had to shut the business down indefinitely.
“Now that there’s just no crowds, it’s just not a thing anymore," Ojeda said. "I’m not quite sure what we’re going to do moving forward.”
Ojeda worries if conventions will ever come back like they were, leaving the future of her business in question.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of it stays virtual, even after it’s safe to come back out,” she said. “So those are all factors we’re considering and thinking about.”