County IG Report: Miami Heat Spending Is Questionable
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MIAMI (CBS4) – The Miami Dade Inspector General issued a scathing report Thursday afternoon, rebuking county officials for failing to show even the slightest interest in how the AmericanAirlines Arena has been operated by the Miami Heat.
As CBS4 News reported last week, the Heat has spent millions on lobbyists, public relations firms and other expenses the Inspector General describes as high questionable.
The IG also argues the Heat owed the county $3.3 million for unbudgeted expenses at the arena.
The Heat denies it owes the county anything.
In an email to CBS4 News last week, a team spokesperson wrote: “there have been no `violations’ of the agreements nor does [the Heat] `owe’ the County any money.”
The team said they have provided a response to the Inspector General’s report and sent it to the IG.
County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said his staff is reviewing the Inspector General’s findings.
The Inspector General launched its investigation in response to a CBS4 News report last year highlighting the fact that even though the arena had been open for more than a decade, it hadn’t generated any revenue for the county.
The county had been promised revenue sharing as part of its 1997 agreement with the Miami Heat, and its billionaire owner, Micky Arison.
Arison had threatened to move the team if a new, waterfront arena wasn’t built on county land and subsidized with nearly $200 million in taxpayer money.
In return for county’s investment, the Heat promised that if the arena generated more than $14 million a year in profit the team would share that money with the county.