Miss Universe at Center of Doral Controversy

Residents of one South Florida city are calling for more transparency amid concerns that taxpayers will be stuck paying the $2.5 million cost of crowning Miss Universe just outside Doral.

At a public meeting Monday residents voiced their concerns about where the money to fund the Miss Universe pageant would come from, still the public left amid cries for more transparency.

The first issue discussed at the meeting was the $2.5 million fee the city agreed on to host the pageant. At an October press conference, Doral Mayor Luigi Boria said he was confident the money would come from private sponsors, not taxpayers.

The city attorney said Monday the potential sponsorships have yielded a little more than a million dollars so far. If the private sponsorships don’t total enough, Boria has said there is the possibility that public money will be used.

“Well, maybe, I don’t know,” Boria said. “At this point, I can’t say if we gonna spend any money from the taxpayer dollars, but it’s worth it to spend it promoting the city.”

Councilwoman Christi Fraga countered that, “$2.5 million would’ve gone very well in a park or in school or in our roads. I mean, there’s a lot to be done in this city.”

The other big problem residents have with public money being used for the pageant is the actual pageant won’t be held in the city. Instead, it will be held at the FIU arena in unincorporated Miami-Dade County.

“We don’t have any problem with having the Miss Universe pageant in Doral. It’s just simply not in Doral,” said Angel Zamora of the Concerned Citizens of Doral. “And we’re being sold on that these satellite events are gonna bring economic impact. There was no study done of what type of economic impact it was gonna do.”

Still, some residents spoke in favor of the event saying Doral will benefit from the influx of visitors from around the globe.

“This event in the future can have countless opportunities for us,” said Pablo Espinal.

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