TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida’s tourism marketing agency paid nearly $441,000 in employee bonuses this summer despite months of scrutiny from legislators over spending.

A Visit Florida spokesman said the use of bonuses was approved in May 2016. Stephen Lawson added that Visit Florida wouldn’t use employee bonuses in the future.

Visit Florida paid the bonuses in July to 119 employees with amounts ranging from a few hundred dollars to nearly $29,000.

State legislators passed a law this year that prohibits Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida from using any public money for bonuses. Lawson said the bonuses came from private sources.

Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development agency, may prohibit all types of bonuses in the future as well.

Visit Florida came under fire after approving a secret $1 million deal with rapper Pitbull.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.