John Textor’s hand-picked board no longer believed in him. His biggest lender had just called in its loan. His movie-effects company had hired a consultant to file bankruptcy.
Days before his Hollywood-comes-to-Florida dream would die, the chairman of Digital Domain Media Group brushed off those woes.
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How we got the story
As Digital Domain Media Group began to implode last year, Palm Beach Post staff writer Jeff Ostrowski dug into the company’s story. Over the past year, Ostrowski read thousands of pages of court documents and emails and listened to John Textor’s speeches and presentations. He interviewed Textor before and after the company failed and saw firsthand how the businessman used both bluster and charm to get what he wanted.
Digital Domain’s directors
Chairman John Textor called the shots, but he still had to answer to a board. The members:
- Kevin Ambler, former state lawmaker who was crucial in obtaining $20 million state incentive
- Jeffrey Lunsford, tech executive
- Casey Cummings, president of Ram Realty Services, a Palm Beach County developer
- Kaleil Isaza Tuzman, investment banker turned tech executive
- John Kluge Jr., son of late billionaire
- Jonathan Teaford, executive at Digital Domain
The financial backers
- Palm Beach Capital, a West Palm Beach-based firm that managed money for the Florida pension fund and other investors; largest owner of Digital Domain shares
- Comvest, a West Palm Beach-based firm that managed money for NextEra Energy and other investors
- Tenor Capital, a New York company that loaned Digital Domain $35 million in May 2012; August default pushed Digital Domain into bankruptcy
The Post Digs Deeper
Business reporter Jeff Ostrowski brings 20 years of experience to tell the story of the largest failure of job incentives in Florida history.