Some Miami-Dade County Commissioners haven’t given up on the idea of trying to re-open the contract to finance the Florida Marlins ballpark, in the wake of leaked financial documents showing the team made a profit in 2008 and 2009.
Commissioners Sally Heyman and Javier Souto have sponsored a resolution directing County Mayor Carlos Alvarez or his designee to “initiate dialogue” with the Marlins and city of Miami to see if the contract can be amended to reduce the public’s contribution to the $515 million ballpark. The county’s and city’s contribution amounts to $361 million. But in order to re-open the contract, the county, city and team all have to agree.
With ballpark construction zooming along at the former site of the Orange Bowl – “on time and on budget,” according to the team – and Alvarez saying in August that negotiations would not be reopened, any amendments seem unlikely.
But last week, the Miami-Dade County Commission’s Budget, Planning and Sustainability Committee voted 4-0, with Commissioners Carlos Gimenez and Katy Sorenson, absent for the resolution directing the conversations to begin.
“I’m going laugh all the way to my second,” said a chuckling Commissioner Joe Martinez of his decision to second the motion to pass the resolution, “because obviously all three have to come to the table, and we can’t force the Marlins. So there’s been a motion there’s been a second. Does anybody wish to be recorded no?”
No one did.
“It’s a funny resolution passing,” Martinez said, “but at least we tried.”
“We can’t say we didn’t ask,” Heyman said. “This body asked. The negotiators didn’t.”
The resolution is not on today’s county commission agenda and has not yet been scheduled for consideration by the full county commission.
There is a date for the airing of an edition of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel that includes a feature on the long and controversial road to funding the Marlins’ ballpark. The program is scheduled to be broadcast at 10 p.m. Oct. 26.
I haven’t seen the program yet, but those interviewed include Marlins President David Samson, Major League Baseball President Bob DuPuy and county commissioners Heyman, Gimenez and Rebeca Sosa.