Florida Tourism Demanded $100M for Literally Nothing -- and BP Actually Paid Up

Last Updated May 27, 2010 5:49 PM EDT

You really have to admire Florida. When the BP oil spill bled all over the Gulf of Mexico and irreparably damaged Louisiana's ecosystem, it was Florida that demanded $100 million from BP to repair the damage done to its reputation, not its beaches. More astonishing yet is the fact that BP paid up -- not in full, true, but not with pocket change, either.

Of course, Florida politicians now realize that it's open season on BP, and the vultures are circling. The lesson for managers is that managing crises doesn't just involve quick action and compassionate outreach -- it also means knowing when to say no to outrageous demands.

Neither Florida's beaches or surf have been damaged by the oil spill -- although lately there have been some unsightly tar balls in the Keys. Florida officials, however, insisted that the oil giant owed them because news of BP's oil spill would scare away tourists and affect the state's $60 billion tourism industry.

Gov. Charlie Crist secured the first $25 million from BP -- when hard-hit states like Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi only scored $15 million each. But that's not enough, said Rep. Kendrick Meek, they need another $75 million just to get the word out: