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10 News Investigators: USF Polytechnic spends thousands on movie statues from Star Wars and E.T.

3:10 PM, Nov 8, 2011   |    comments
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Winter Haven, Florida -- What do two six-feet-tall Star Wars statues and the University of South Florida Polytechnic in Winter Haven have in common? That's what the 10 News Investigators wanted to know.

The campus wants to be different, but at what cost? The university recently spent thousands of dollars on the life-sized statues and $217,000 on a video monitor wall and cameras at the Polytechnic Blue Sky Studio. School administrators have also spent thousands on travel and plan to spend $500,000 on a video presentation about the campus.

The Star Wars statutes, along with E.T. and a William Shatner Star Trek chair, were stored at various administrator offices, including President Marshall Goodman's Office. Goodman's son has a $50,000 a year job at Blue Sky. Critics say the focus is wrong.

"But right now we've got people wandering the streets who've lost their cars and don't have jobs looking for the next meal. We need to get this thing running and this is slowing it down," says David Touchton, a local CPA on the USF Foundation.

Goodman has traveled so much that someone made a spoof video and placed it on the USF Polytechnic website asking, "Where in the world is Marshall Goodman?"

The president has traveled the world, including a trip to India at taxpayer expense, to promote the university.

In all, the staff has spent $846,000 in travel promoting USF Polytechnic.

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