Norman Braman always said the Marlins stadium project was a bad deal. He never said it was a crooked deal.
But now you have to wonder.
Braman joined me for News & Views just days after reports surfaced that the Securities and Exchange Commission will examine nearly $500 million in bonds sold to fund the new ballpark and the financial deal struck to build four stadium parking garages. In the past few days, we also found out Miami taxpayers will be stuck with an estimated $1.2 million annual property tax bill for those garages. The Marlins contribution to that cost: zip, zero, nada.
“I did not allege that anyone took money under the table,” Braman told me when I asked about the SEC investigation. “But now that the SEC is looking into the deal, we should find out once and for all if corruption was involved.”
The Marlins are not the only target of Braman’s wrath lately. The billionaire auto dealer is also lashing out at proponents of casino gambling in South Florida.
“If you open the door to casinos, you are opening the door to crime and creating more unemployment,” Braman said.
But what about the fact that South Florida already has casinos?
“You don’t cure a problem by making it worse,” Braman said. “No proponent of casino gambling can name any place in the United States where casinos have revitalized a community. Actually, it’s had the opposite effect.”
But in an interview that appears exclusively on CBSMiami.com, Braman praised some proposed changes to the Miami-Dade charter that will appear on the January 31st ballot. He says this time, voters have a chance to weigh in on a plan to reform the county commission by linking term limits and a ban on outside employment with a pay increase for commissioners. To hear the full web extra, click on the video player.