MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — With several events happening simultaneously, thousands have flocked to Miami Beach to celebrate Memorial Day weekend.
While the city of Miami Beach and other organizations are stepping up to salvage the LGBT’s World OutGames events, crowds continue to grow for the Urban Hip Hop Weekend and the Air and Sea Show.
Behind the scenes, efforts to restore many of the OutGames sporting events that were planned. Gay athletes from around the world found out about its cancellation only after arriving in Miami Beach. There won’t be any opening and closing ceremonies, as well as most of the sporting events.
The Miami Beach Parks and Recreation Department has confirmed and staffed the field hockey tournament, and relocated indoor basketball and volleyball tournaments.
“Turn lemons into lemonade,” said Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales. “And at least, hopefully, while they may be disappointed that they didn’t have the international competition to the level they thought, that at least, hopefully, they have enjoyed a wonderful number of days in South Florida.”
The city of Miami Beach released information showing that officials expressed concerns back in March and offered assistance, including waving city permit fees trying to convince the organizers to rethink the event.
Friday night, Miami Beach officials said funding may have been the issue.
“Due to the potential misappropriation of funds, the Miami Beach Police Department and the State Attorney’s Office have conferred and are jointly opening a fraud investigation,” the city said in a statement.
“All we know is that there’s hundreds of thousands of public money, city, state, maybe county, not to mention private dollars, that were raised,” said Morales. “We heard anywhere from $800,000 to $900,000. Where did it go when the couldn’t even pay a $5,000 bill?”
CBS4’s Silva Harapetian had to clarify. “Did you say $800,000 to $900,000?”
“That’s what we understand was raised, in terms of cash,” Morales replied. “Yet at the end they couldn’t even pay a $5,000 deposit to the city for a special events permit. So that’s our concern.”
The city and the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau are holding a reception Wednesday night at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. Business and cultural partners are also offering free and discounted admissions and services to the athletes.
For information on weekend road closures, traffic rerouting, and event times and locations: click here.
If you need help getting around Miami Beach or finding the best parking spots, visit MiamiBeachFL.gov.