Photo via Water Street Tampa/Facebook
Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik's massive new Water Street Tampa project
The Trump administration's “opportunity zone” program was part of the president's 2017 tax plan, and was designed to give tax incentives to rich people who invest in lower-income areas – but in reality many of these tax breaks were instead given to our country's wealthiest chuds and their luxury pet projects that in no way help poor people.
So it really comes as no surprise that yesterday acting Treasury Inspector General Richard Delmar told NBC News
that the Treasury Department’s internal watchdog plans to investigate corruption within the “opportunity zone” program, following numerous reports that many projects were completely bogus and benefited Trump's closest associates.
The investigation follows concerns raised by Democratic leaders. Back in October, Sen. Cory Booker, along with Democratic Reps. Ron Kind of Wisconsin and Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, sent a letter
to the Treasury Department's Office of Inspector General requesting information on how these “opportunity zone” projects were chosen.
Delmar told NBC that he expects the investigation to be completed by spring of 2020.
If all of this sounds familiar, it’s because Central Florida billionaire and Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik’s $3 billion Water Street Tampa development was also given hefty tax incentives under the “opportunity zone” act.
At this point it’s unclear which "opportunity zones" will be looked at and whether Vinik’s project will be part of this investigation, but it’s hard to ignore that Water Street Tampa literally surrounds his hockey arena and is nestled in one of Tampa’s most affluent neighborhoods, with a median family income almost twice as high as the rest of the Tampa metro area.
As mentioned in our previous reporting
, Vinik and the City of Tampa directly lobbied then-Gov. Rick Scott for this lucrative tax break.
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