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Fact-Checking Charge that Crist is Corrupt


Election day is getting close -- and the TV ad war between Rick Scott and Charlie Crist rages on. 

One of the latest ads from the Scott side pulls no punches. It calls Crist a "corrupt politician" who funneled taxpayer money into what amounted to a Ponzi scheme.

"This one we rated false," said Josh Gillin of PolitiFact Florida. "It is talking about the failure of Digital Domain Florida in 2012. That is the digital effects company that was founded by James Cameron. It was a Florida offshoot of his California company. It came to the state in 2009 promising to bring a bunch of jobs and lobbying politicians for money. And Charlie Crist was one of those politicians."

But, Digital Domain did not succeed and closed it's doors two years ago. And, there are questions about why it came to Florida in the first place.

"It looks like they had come to the state in order to use tax money to pay off debts in California. That's the allegation in a lawsuit filed this summer," explained Gillin. "It was filed by William Scherer,who is a Republican donor and a Rick Scott supporter. This suit specifically mentions Crist a bunch of times even though an investigation during the Scott administration said that he hadn't done anything wrong."

First, was the Digital Domain deal a Ponzi scheme?

"We talked to some experts and they said no it's more of a debt scheme," Gillin said. "They weren't looking to continually take in money and use it to pay off other people. They were using money from the state of Florida to pay off their debts in California."

And, second, is Crist involved in that alleged scam?

"No," said Gillin. "He did lobby for this money. He thought it was a good idea. But as to whether he's embroiled in this, he hasn't been charged with any wrongdoing. So we found the whole claim false."