ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – The Central Florida International Auto Show takes over Orlando with hundreds of new model vehicles Thursday, November 26 (Thanksgiving Day) through Sunday, November 29. Follow the highway carpet through the Orange County Convention Center for an up-close look at the latest cars, crossovers, SUVs, trucks and all that is new in the automotive world. From the all-new Ford F-150 to the Mazda MX-5 Miata, the auto show will feature all that is new in showrooms, as well as test drives, ultra-high-end exotics, alternative fuel options, fun for the little ones and more!
For four days, the auto show will transform the convention center into an auto mecca offering consumers the chance to compare hundreds of new models side by side, all under one roof. It’s a place for attendees to sit in the driver’s seats, inspect engines, kick tires, count cup holders, check trunk space, test drive vehicles and take in that new car smell. New models set to turn heads on the show floor include the Honda Civic Sedan, Nissan Titan XD, Buick Cascada, Chevrolet Camaro, Subaru WRX, Volvo XC90 and more.
Go green at the auto show and learn about the variety of fuel savings options available to drivers! From gas-electric hybrids to plug-in electric vehicles, the auto show is the place to ask questions about the latest alternative fuel choices including the hybrid-electric Chevrolet Volt; plug-in electric Volkswagen e-Golf; plug-in hybrid Ford CMAX Energi; and dozens of hybrid options.
Drivers are invited to take their auto show experience from the show floor to the road! Dozens of test drives will be available from 15 manufacturers including Buick, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, GMC, Honda, Jeep®, KIA, Mazda, Nissan, Ram, Subaru and Toyota.
Festivals of Speed returns to the auto show with a rare collection of premier, high-end luxury vehicles and customized rides. Follow the smart phone snaps through the auto show to check out this dazzling collection of exotic rides.
Hometown Heroes will feature a collection of vehicles used by local emergency service professionals to keep locals safe from fire, accidents and natural disasters, as well as giveaways, demos and experiential simulators. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see the vehicles up-close, and even snap a selfie! The display will feature a 1929 antique fire engine and ladder truck from the Winter Park Fire Department; a fire engine and fire/EMT ambulance from Hall-Mark Fire Apparatus; a Ford Explorer Raptor from the Winter Park Police Department; and more.
For the first time ever, the auto show welcomes Ace Café, the legendary London “petrolhead” hangout! Check out classic cars, vintage motorcycles and even purchase signature retail items from this pop-up store on the auto show floor!
The Dream Car Photo Contest returns to the auto show! Showgoers are encouraged to snap a selfie next to their dream car at the auto show, and then post to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #OrlandoAutoShow. Participants will be automatically entered to win a gift card!
The auto show will also offer a wealth of activities for the little ones to enjoy! At the Kids Autobahn & Fun Zone, children are invited to hop into mini-electric vehicles and go for a spin on a mini-test track inside the auto show, as well as jump around in the Monster Spider Jump! Kids will also enjoy face painting and balloon art on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 5p.m.
On Family Day, Sunday, November 29, all children 12 and younger are admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult. The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens, a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and education of wildlife and the natural world, will make an appearance on this special day, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. with a few of their favorite animals including lizards, owls and snakes. Families are invited to stop by to see, touch and learn about these amazing creatures!
The SPCA of Central Florida Mobile cruises into the auto show for on-site pet adoptions on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Stop by and visit the four-legged friends looking for forever homes!
The Central Florida International Auto Show will be open to the public Thursday, November 26 (Thanksgiving Day) through Sunday, November 29, at the Orange County Convention Center (North Concourse Building), located at 9400 Universal Boulevard, in Orlando. Show hours are Thursday, from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for senior citizens (62 and older), military (w/any DOD ID) and students (under 21 w/school ID) and $3 for children (ages 7-12). Children 6 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Family Day is Sunday, November 29 and all children 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. All attendees will receive a FREE one-year subscription to Motor Trend magazine with each online ticket order or box office purchase. For additional information, visit www.AutoShowOrlando.com or follow www.facebook.com/OrlandoAutoShow, @OrlandoAutoShow on Twitter and @OrlandoAutoShow on Instagram. Hashtag: #OrlandoAutoShow.
Secret Service Recovers $286M in Stolen Pandemic Loans
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Secret Service said Friday that it has recovered $286 million in fraudulently obtained pandemic loans and is returning the money to the Small Business Administration.
The Secret Service said an investigation initiated by its Orlando office found that alleged conspirators submitted Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications by using fake or stolen employment and personal information and used an online bank, Green Dot, to conceal and move their criminal proceeds.
The agency worked with Green Dot to identify roughly 15,000 accounts and seize $286 million connected to the accounts.
“This forfeiture effort and those to come are a direct and necessary response to the unprecedented size and scope of pandemic relief fraud,” said Kevin Chambers, director for COVID-19 fraud enforcement at the Justice Department.
Billions have been fraudulently claimed through various pandemic relief programs — including Paycheck Protection Program loans, unemployment insurance and others that were rolled out in the midst of the worldwide pandemic that shutdown global economies for months.
In March, the Government Accountability Office reported that while agencies were able to distribute COVID-19 relief funds quickly, “the tradeoff was that they did not have systems in place to prevent and identify payment errors and fraud” due in part to “financial management weaknesses.”
As a result, the GAO has recommended several measures for agencies to prevent pandemic program fraud in the future, including better reporting on their fraud risk management efforts.
Since 2020, the Secret Service initiated more than 3,850 pandemic related fraud investigations, seized over $1.4 billion in fraudulently obtained funds and helped to return $2.3 billion to state unemployment insurance programs.
The latest seizure included a collaboration of efforts between Secret Service, the SBA’s Inspector General, DOJ and other offices.
Hannibal “Mike” Ware, the Small Business Administration’s inspector general, said the joint investigations will continue “to ensure that taxpayer dollars obtained through fraudulent means will be returned to taxpayers and fraudsters involved face justice.”
Addition Financial, UCF Extend Naming Rights Agreement for Arena
ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – UCF has extended its naming rights partnership with Addition Financial Credit Union for an additional dozen years—in the process continuing to identify Addition Financial Arena on the UCF campus as the Knights’ home for men’s and women’s basketball games and a variety of other events.
The new agreement is a 12-year, $20 million partnership that follows up the original naming rights pact signed by UCF and Additional Financial in 2013. The new deal takes effect Jan. 1, 2023.
The UCF Board of Trustees approved the name at its meeting this morning, and the full deal is expected to be approved Aug. 25 by the UCF Athletics Association.
“We’ve had a partnership with Addition Financial for nearly a decade, and we’re excited that Kevin Miller and the Addition Financial Board have agreed to extend our relationship for an additional 12 years,” says UCF vice president and athletics director Terry Mohajir. “This is a great new venture with outstanding community partners.
“Resources will be paramount as we transition into the Big 12 Conference a year from now, and Addition Financial will play a key role for us as we invest more resources to enhance our education and athletics missions!”
In 2013, Addition Financial was named the Official Financial Institution of the UCF Knights and is the exclusive credit union for UCF Athletics. Since that time, Addition Financial has partnered with UCF Athletics to provide scholarships, financial education workshops and other sponsorship support. Addition Financial is also the home of the official UCF Knights debit cards, with designs featuring the new Knight head and the Citronaut.
“Addition Financial is proud to continue our longstanding partnership with UCF Athletics and to align with Orlando’s hometown teams. Knight Nation has truly inspired us along their journey to the Big 12, and we look forward to embarking on that journey alongside them as we extend our partnership,” said Kevin Miller, Addition Financial president and CEO.
The 10,000-seat Addition Financial Arena has been home to the UCF men’s and women’s basketball programs since the start of their 2007-08 seasons. Located in the heart of Knights Plaza on the north side of campus, the state-of-the-art facility opened in the fall of 2007 and also hosts premiere concerts along with UCF commencement ceremonies.
JetBlue Agrees to Buy Spirit for $3.8 Billion
NEW YORK, N.Y. (AP) — JetBlue has agreed to buy Spirit Airlines for $3.8 billion in a deal that would create the nation’s fifth largest airline if approved by U.S. regulators.
The agreement Thursday comes a day after Spirit’s attempt to merge with Frontier Airlines fell apart. Spirit had recommended its shareholders approve a lower offer from Frontier, saying that antitrust regulators are more likely to reject the bid from JetBlue.
“This combination is an exciting opportunity to diversify and expand our network, add jobs and new possibilities for crewmembers, and expand our platform for profitable growth.” JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said in a statement.
The combined airline, which will be based in New York and led by Hayes, would have a fleet of 458 aircraft. The airlines will continue to operate independently until after the transaction closes.
JetBlue said Thursday that it would pay $33.50 per share in cash for Spirit, including a prepayment of $2.50 per share in cash payable once Spirit stockholders approve the transaction. There’s also a ticking fee of 10 cents per month starting in January 2023 through closing.
If the transaction is completed before December 2023, the deal will be for $33.50 per share, increasing over time to up to $34.15 per share, in the event the transaction closes at the outside date in July 2024.
If the deal doesn’t close due to antitrust reasons, JetBlue will pay Spirit a reverse break-up fee of $70 million and stockholders of Spirit a reverse break-up fee of $400 million less any amounts paid to stockholders of Spirit prior to termination.
News of the JetBlue and Spirit combination comes after weeks of Frontier and JetBlue tussling over who would ultimately get to add the budget airline to its arsenal. While Spirit initially struck a deal with Frontier and had stood by that proposed agreement, its shareholders were not on board. The decision by Spirit and Frontier to terminate their deal was announced Wednesday while Spirit shareholders were still voting on the proposal. It was apparent that despite the support of Spirit’s board, shareholders were prepared to reject the deal and seek a richer one from JetBlue.
JetBlue anticipates $600 million to $700 million in annual savings once the transaction is complete. Annual revenue for the combined company is anticipated to be about $11.9 billion, based on 2019 revenues.
JetBlue and Spirit will continue to operate independently until after the transaction closes. Their respective loyalty programs remain unchanged and customer accounts will not be affected in any way.
The deal still needs the required regulatory approvals and approval from Spirit’s stockholders. The companies expect to conclude the regulatory process and close the transaction no later than the first half of 2024.
Spirit’s stock rose more than 4% before the market open, while shares of JetBlue were up slightly.