City Commissioner Demands Corporate Transparency

Companies buying land while hiding identity


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. —Florida law currently lets companies keep their identity under wraps until it's time for government leaders to cast their vote on the construction plans.

Amazon is one of the companies that kept their identity hidden when they closed a deal for a Daytona Beach facility last year.

Daytona Beach City Commissioner Ken Strickland is demanding transparency and says the public should know the details ahead of time before any deals get approved. He thinks our elected officials keep too many secrets and says companies need to reveal themselves publicly, at least two weeks before any vote can happen.

Strickland’s proposal would give people and officials more time to evaluate what kind of business we want in town, and possibly negotiate terms.

The College of Business Dean at Bethune Cookman University, Lawrence Drake, says the confidentiality stops companies from swiping deals from under one another.  

Amazon promises upward of 1,000 jobs when factoring in the jobs created to support the added population. Drake says that companies' plans are known, so revealing the name as well could scare incoming business.

“We constantly hear Volusia County and Daytona Beach is looking to grow and looking to expand its economic development platform. Then if that’s the case, putting up new barriers is probably not the best thing,” Drake said.

It seems upholding this secrecy law is asking us to trade the truth for financial security.  Matthew Hurst, an associate professor of finance at Stetson University, claims 1,000  jobs is just the start if Amazon gets comfortable in Daytona, “That creates additional construction jobs and retail jobs, food and beverage jobs, as well as doctors, lawyers, and accountants that have to come in to service the additional people in the area,” 

The Amazon facility is set to be worth $200 million,  be 2.8 million square feet, and start pay $15 an hour. The company will hire locally but will also likely bring employees and new residents.

Daytona Beach will give the company $4 million in tax exemptions over five years.


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