West Palm Beach native John Textor invests in Crystal Palace FC

Former Digital Domain CEO adds Premier League club owner to resume
John Textor at Digital Domain in Port St. Lucie in 2011
Posted at 6:25 PM, Aug 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-11 20:16:07-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — West Palm Beach native and businessman John Textor, who brought Digital Domain to his home state before the visual effects studio filed for bankruptcy shortly after its arrival, can now add professional soccer club owner to his resume.

Crystal Palace F.C. announced Wednesday that Textor will join chairman Steve Parish, Josh Harris and David Blitzer as owners and directors of the London-based Premier League club.

Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea July 2020
Crystal Palace's Mamadou Sakho, left, and Chelsea's Christian Pulisic in action during the English Premier League soccer match July 7, 2020, at Selhurst Park in London, England.

"I have looked at many opportunities across European football in which to invest so I could follow my passion for football and have a meaningful stake in a club," Textor said in a statement released by the club. "Over the past six months of discussions, I have also developed a real affinity to Crystal Palace F.C, its history, the staff and, of course, most importantly the supporters who create an incredible atmosphere at every game -- one I cannot wait to witness again when supporters return to fill Selhurst Park this season. I very much look forward to working with the chairman and the other partners."

Textor is probably best remembered for his role as chief executive officer of Digital Domain, the visual effects studio that he moved from Los Angeles to Port St. Lucie. Receiving economic incentives from the state of Florida and Port St. Lucie, Digital Domain opened its studio in the city in 2012 and partnered with Florida State University's film school to create an animation and digital arts program in West Palm Beach.

Port St. Lucie's minor league baseball park was even named Digital Domain Stadium.

Digital Domain Stadium in Port St. Lucie in 2012
A general view of Digital Domain Stadium during a spring training game between the Washington Nationals and the New York Mets, Tuesday, March 20, 2012, in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

But the studio, which was co-founded by director James Cameron and created the effects for movies like "True Lies" and "Titanic," filed for bankruptcy that same year, less than a year after its initial public offering.

Digital Domain's Port St. Lucie facility in Tradition closed, leaving more than 300 employees jobless and the city in debt.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and city of Port St. Lucie sued Digital Domain and Textor, claiming the company fraudulently secured millions of dollars from the state.

According to the lawsuit, the company circumvented normal channels to secure $20 million in state incentive money, which it later used as leverage to secure millions more from Port St. Lucie and West Palm Beach.

A settlement was later reached, providing multimillion-dollar payouts to the state, Port St. Lucie and Textor, who received more than $8 million.