- June 16, 2022
First it was Mickey. Then came cheeseburgers. Next on the list of companies Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis is targeting for a Sunshine State relocation? Twitter.
A statewide elected CFO and Florida Cabinet member, Patronis reacted quickly to the news that Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has become the San Francisco-based social media firm’s largest shareholder. An outspoken Twitter devotee, Musk acquired 9.2% of Twitter shares April 5, worth nearly $3 billion. Musk’s Twitter power move, which now includes a board seat, came after a series of rant-tweets about how the social media platform fails miserably on free speech and First Amendment principles.
Patronis, like he did with The Walt Disney Co. in September 2020 and with cult-like burger chain In-N-Out last October, sent Musk a letter touting Florida as the best place to move a business — like Twitter. With Disney and Irvine, California-based In-N-Out, Patronis wrote those company’s executives recruitment letters regarding pandemic protocols, and how Florida prioritized liberty over more restrictive and mandate-centric California. Disney, while it might not have been at Patronis’ urging, announced last summer that it planned to move 2,000 employees from its Burbank offices to Lake Nona, outside Orlando.
For Musk, Patronis in his letter, cites what he calls Florida’s embrace of “free speech and free thought,” which the state CFO says stands in opposition to California’s “thought-police mentality.”
“There is no Ministry of Truth here. Just freedom, beaches and a lot of opportunity,” Patronis writes, in part. “I would like to invite you and your team to the Sunshine State to experience all of the reasons why you should consider moving Twitter headquarters out of California and to the Free State of Florida…You already trust the Florida Space Coast with SpaceX — you should relaunch a new and improved Twitter right here in Florida.”
Patronis later takes a slight dig at Texas in his pitch. “You recently moved Tesla out of California due to their state government's obvious disdain for your businesses and others like them. While Texas is an upgrade over California — a low bar — you should seriously consider moving Twitter further east. In Florida, you won't have an unreliable electric grid — problems you've already experienced in the Lone Star State.”
No word from Musk on if he will take the Florida plunge. Though Musk, as his some 81 million Twitter followers know, often takes a rather unexpected path. One of many examples: On April 9 he tweeted this survey: “Convert Twitter SF HQ to homeless shelter since no one shows up anyway?” (With 1.5 million votes cast as of midday April 10, the vote was 91.3% saying yes.)