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With less than two weeks to go until Pride of the Americas (POTA), support for the event and the organization producing it, Pride Fort Lauderdale (Pride), is collapsing. 

Within hours after the publication of an SFGN story detailing the lack of transparency in Pride, two major sponsors withdrew all remaining support from the event and the organization. Midland/CAN, one of, if not the biggest financial sponsor of Pride notified the organization it is out. They had given $100,000 to Pride for this year, and are now asking for a complete reimbursement.

Rogelio Capote, SVP Marketing & Community Relations for CAN Community Health, told SFGN, “Due to changes that have occurred after our sponsorship commitment, it is in the best interest of CAN Community Health and the Midland Family to withdraw from Pride of the Americas.”

Two Midland people were on the board, but both had already resigned since Christmas. One of them, Greg Beltran, told SFGN they both left to devote more time to their jobs.

As for Midland/CAN pulling out, he said, “It wasn’t a decision taken lightly. We made the decision based on the changes that occurred after we committed to the 100K presenting sponsorship. After considerable deliberation, we decided it was in the best interest of both organizations to withdraw from the event.”

A document from Pride, obtained by SFGN, indicates CAN/Midland were committed to $100,000 each of the next two years as well. The status of that money has not been addressed.

Also pulling out of the event is longtime Pride sponsor Tito's Vodka. SFGN has been told their commitment had been about $25,000 in cash plus providing products to the event.

These events come in the midst of SFGN’s exclusive investigation into Pride, exposing a lack of planning and money as well as an exodus in top-tier leadership.

‘Stopping My Current Tasks’ 

The same night Midland/CAN pulled out, Pride’s head of Logistics & Operations - Safety, Corey Ziman, sent an email titled “Full hold.” In it, he said, “I fully expect to see sponsors and vendors pull out. With that said, I will be stopping my current tasks until I hear from the Board of Directors about the current status and heading of POTA.”

The email also seems to address transparency issues, saying, “At this time I’m also going to ask that all direct and indirect communication from the board take place via email.” SFGN reached out to Ziman, who declined comment.

One person said they were taking a “nose count” to see how the board wanted to proceed.

After weeks of avoiding questions, Pride President Miik Martorell responded to SFGN and gave a 48-minute interview by phone. During that conversation, he said preparations are moving forward.

City’s Steadfast Support

The city of Fort Lauderdale continues to show unwavering support to Pride and POTA. When it became clear the usual beach location would be too expensive and too difficult to use (a major NHL event is there the weekend before), the city stepped in to find an alternate venue, Las Olas Intracoastal Promenade Park. 

Commissioner Steve Glassman told SFGN that they are committed to making the event a success and overcoming obstacles. Glassman said the space is being provided free of charge. He also says the city will cover all police costs associated with the parade and party in the park. Glassman said that was originally expected to be about $58,000, but he expects it to be less now that POTA has been scaled back from a weekend-long party in Fort Lauderdale to just one day in the city on Feb. 11.


Pride President Speaks Out; Addresses Community Concerns

Pride Stonewalls SFGN; Ignores Requests for Interviews & Information