Marlins Stadium Under Fire

MIAMI ( – The Miami Marlins Stadium is nearing completion in Little Havana, but it’s controversial journey took a new turn Friday when the Securities and Exchange Commission opened an investigation into the finances underlying the stadium deal.

“Oh no! Are you kidding me,” asked taxpayer Vicki Diez.

The Marlins refused to hand over the team’s financial records for years and fought in court to prevent Miami billionaire Norman Braman from getting access to the records.

“I don’t like using words like ‘I told you so,” Braman said Monday. “If you study it, and you look at the total lack of transparency; it cries for an investigation.”

But those records, and the finances of Miami and Miami-Dade County, are just what the SEC is going to examine.

The SEC requested all correspondence to and from the Marlins’ owner, Jeffrey Loria, team president, and the commissioner of baseball.

The Marlins finances, which were eventually leaked to the website, showed the Marlins were actually making tens of millions of dollars while claiming poverty during the negotiations of the cost they would shoulder for the new stadium.

At the time, former Mayor Carlos Alvarez said under oath that he had never seen the financial statements and that the county never requested those statements during the negotiations.

CBS4 tried to contact Alvarez for a statement Monday, but was unable to get anything from his office.

The Marlins released this statement about the SEC investigation:

“Yes, we are aware of the investigation that the SEC is conducting on the issuance of the County’s and City’s stadium and parking bonds. Of course, we will fully cooperate with the SEC’s investigation as needed and assist in whatever way possible.  Because this is an on-going matter, it is not appropriate to comment further.”

Current Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, who was at that time a commissioner, vehemently opposed the stadium deal.

“Yes, I said hell no because it was a bad deal for Miami,” Regalado said Monday.

The Marlins gave the city and county a month to supply the demanded materials.

Things took another turn over the weekend when the team handed out roughly $128 million in contracts to closer Heath Bell and shortstop Jose Reyes.

The Marlins have for years claimed poverty and had the lowest payroll in business.

The Marlins are also said to be the leading team to sign left-handed starting pitcher Mark Buehrle and are making a big push to sign free agent first baseman Albert Pujols.

Signing Pujols alone will cost the team at least $200 million over the next nine years.

So, the Marlins could sign upwards of $350 million worth of players in the coming days. However, the Marlins couldn’t contribute more to the stadium deal.

It’s a catch-22 for taxpayers. On the one hand, they don’t want to pay so much for a stadium.

On the other hand, by saving the money from paying for the stadium; the Marlins now have the ability to go out and sign the best players in baseball.

  • Frank Wendeln

    As long as they pay rent and the city gets the proceeds from concessions and advertising, they can have the ticket sales, skybox rentals and their TV deal.

    It is cool seeing that Flying Saucer off 836, but it needs to be paid for by the end user, which is the Marlins.

  • Robert

    I say kick them out and get another team to come in and take over a decent amount for the stadium… and pay for the taxes on the property. This was a sham deal from the beginning and somebody should go to jail for the kick backs with the taxpayer’s money.

  • realist

    Turn it into a giant walmart….

    • Len Murray

      that made me laugh. good one.

  • Jose

    As a Cuban American ,we can once again give “thanks” to this $2.4 BILLION dollar corporate welfare that we the citizens PAID for to MIAMI CUBAN politicians, officials who SUCK OUR BLOOD.

    My motto is “Vote for ANYONE who is NOT Cuban” this place is a corrupt ill run banana republic due to the Miami Cuban political “Cosa Nostra”.

    Don’t get fooled here by Rep, Dem it is one Cuban fist of political self serving trash.

  • Roger

    I agree with Jose and this is why I had to leave Miami, it is a totally Corrupt Cubanized 3rd world and it is very sad where it has reached. I could not believe they allowed this White elephant to be built for a game that draws a few thousand spectators. Braman was right from the beginning. All involved should be arrested and charged with Grand Theft and Fraud.

  • Ceres4

    Al Capone and Dillinger had more integrity that the one possess by Miami-Dade County politicians. This is without a doubt the most corrupt county in the entire United States. A bunch of Marlin executives and players are increasing their bank accounts by a million dollars every month, while every day countless residents are losing their homes and becoming destitute.

  • sunriser11

    The stadium has been put out of reach for those of us who live north of the county line. Joe Robbie Stadium was so convenient, we didn’t have to drive through numerous “hoods” and we could tailgate. Now we have to travel over an hour, can’t tailgate to watch a team management that shows no fan loyalty. This last push with Reyes and now with Pujols is to sell tickets to watch older players in their waning years. I’ve had it with cheap owners and corrupt city officials. I supposed those of us in the northern counties will somehow also pay for this extravagant stadium for a mediocre team. Miami will never have the fan base as do other cities. It’s too corrupt

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