House Speaker Richard Corcoran says 'storm of change' is coming to Florida

Legal battle against celebrity Chef Emeril Lagasse
Posted at 10:47 PM, Jan 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-10 22:47:10-05

Chef Emeril Lagasse is a central figure in a growing legal battle over the finances of his tv show called "Emeril's Florida," which once profiled Burns Steak House in Tampa.

On Thursday Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran will push his fellow members to impose fines on the producer behind the show for not complying with a state issued subpoena requesting the expense reports of the show's production. 

At the heart of that subpoena is an accusation from speaker Corcoran that more than $10 million in taxpayer money may have been illegally spent on  the show to promote the state.

"Do I think there is gross misspending? Yes, and they are trying to hide it. Is there something illegal? at this point in time, that is called into question," says the speaker.

At the same time Thursday a legal showdown will unfold inside a Tallahassee courtroom where a judge will decide if the subpoena against the tv show's producer should be dismissed.

The speaker believes the financial documents he's seeking will prove "Visit Florida" misspent taxpayer money to pay chef Emeril and his producer.

"And to the extent that there was corruption we will turn it over to the prosecutors," says the speaker.

Speaker Corcoran, who many speculate will announce his candidacy for governor after the legislative session ends this March, is also on a crusade to stop any and all future property tax increases in the state — vowing to make it harder for any city to ever raise property taxes again, even if your property values increase.

"On your local level if your county commissioners do not go to the roll back rate on your property values and take that extra money they have to notice it as a tax increase," he says.

As for running for governor, speaker Corcoran says he will make that decision after the legislative session.