Tourism board won't pay $75,000 to Miss USA
BATON ROUGE - The Visit Baton Rouge board voted unanimously Thursday not to pay the Miss USA organization $75,000 in outstanding incentives for this year's pageant.
The group already paid nearly $125,000 in incentives, which included a $100,000 cash incentive and nearly $25,000 for "enhancements" like special lunches and buses.
The board's resolution said: "Visit Baton Rouge has fulfilled in full all of its legal and moral obligations to Miss USA required under the contract, and no further payments will be made by Visit Baton Rouge."
Visit Baton Rouge withheld the payment after broadcasters dropped the Miss USA pageant over comments about immigrants made by Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. While the pageant was carried by online streaming service ReelzChannel and broadcast locally by WBRZ, its ratings plummeted from previous years to less than a million viewers and the program lost several sponsors.
A spokesperson for the board said they're not concerned about lawsuits from the Miss USA organization for the payment. The money will be added to Visit Baton Rouge's accounts as cash for future expenses.
Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne's office previously announced they would hold back half the state's agreed-upon payment of $50,000 in incentives. The state and Baton Rouge originally promised a $545,000 incentives package, before any film tax credits were figured in.