Reporting David Sutta
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Marlins Stadium Construction (3/25/11)
MIAMI (CBS4) – A bill battle is brewing between the Miami Marlins and Miami-Dade County.
At issue is more than $1.7 million dollars in expenses the team has incurred for things like pillows, cable, and electricity.
The Marlins moved into their shiny new stadium this spring. Roughly two months after the first pitch details are coming out over how they spent their money to build it.
The baseball team is on the hook for roughly $160 million of the $515 million dollar stadium’s cost. To prove they’ve spent their money they have submitted thousands of receipts for everything from consultants to cable bills.
According to the contract, all the money must be spent on the stadium.
“For the design and construction of the stadium that includes consultants and things of that nature,” Jose Galan with the county’s internal services department explained. Galan has approved almost 40 million in expenses thus far. He has another list though challenging nearly $1.7 in expenses.
The 17 page document obtained by CBS4 shows a laundry list auditors caught. It includes things like first class airline tickets for consultants, thousands spent defending a lawsuit Norman Braman brought to stop the stadium construction, and almost $11,000 spent on wine for a party.
“In that particular instance we spoke to the Marlins specifically. They realized that that was something that should not be included on this particular list as part of the capital construction,” Galan said.
Much of what the county is disputing surrounds the Marlins sales center. The center was built across the street for the stadium as part of an effort to sell seats before the stadium was built. The team has itemized everything for its construction and operation.
The receipts include $14,902 for electricity, $663 for exterminators, $2,494 for cable, $9,000 for office supplies and $210 for a floor mat. It may not seem like much but when you add up the receipts for this center, the county is calling it a million dollar sales center. A million dollars the Marlins are trying to include in the budget to build the stadium.
“We are challenging that and that is something that the Marlins will have to take a look at and see what their feelings are on that.” Galan told CBS4’s David Sutta.
The Marlins declined to answer questions over whether their sales center expenses should be included. Meanwhile, the receipts are still coming in for new expenses.
While the county may collect on things like the FPL or the cable bill they will likely not collect the entire 1.7 million dollars. The Marlins can contest all of this and ultimately take it to an arbitrator. If it goes that far the bills may not be settled for another four to six months.