Negotiations for Miss USA cash still going on
BATON ROUGE - City-parish and tourism officials in East Baton Rouge said they're still in talks with Miss USA officials about a six-figure cash incentives payout which is in jeopardy.
A spokesperson for the EBR Mayor-President's Office said they have not turned over a $100,000 incentives payout to Miss USA yet, even though it's due Wednesday. VisitBR CEO Paul Arrigo said they're also holding off paying their $75,000 incentives package while attorneys meet with the Miss USA organization to discuss their situation.
At issue is the decision by broadcasters NBC / Universal and Univision not to air the July 12 pageant from Baton Rouge. Both networks pulled out after comments about Latino immigrants by Miss Universe CEO Donald Trump, who is running for president and filed suit against Univision for their decision.
EBR Metro Council member John Delgado sent a letter this week urging the city-parish not to make the payment to the Miss USA organization. He argued their agreement hinged on the pageant being broadcast from Baton Rouge, which they can no longer fulfill.
The pageant will be streamed online at the Miss USA website. No other broadcaster has stepped up to air the pageant, and all four of its hosts have also backed out of participating.
Meanwhile, contestants arrived from all over the nation Tuesday in order to begin preparations for the pageant at the L'Auberge Casino and Hotel. Many took to social media to share their support for the pageant through the #SaveTheSash hashtag, and thousands more signed an online petition asking NBC to re-think their decision not to air the pageant.
Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne said he assured the Miss USA organization they will hold all the agreed welcome events for contestants ahead of the pageant. The state is still considering whether it will pay its $45,000 commitment to the pageant, which also applied for a film tax credit in Louisiana as a reality TV show. The pageant's tax credit application listed a planned budget of $4.4 million with most of that being spent in the state, leading to an estimated $100,000 in Louisiana payroll taxes.