Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins have just started their push to get tax revenue for massive improvements to Sun Life Stadium, but they have already run into a down and dirty fight with Norman Braman and other leaders who oppose the Fins’ plan.
The latest salvo in the fight came in Tuesday’s edition of the Miami Herald, the news partner of CBS4. The Dolphins fired back at Braman who opposes the stadium, and opposed Marlins Park, in a full-page advertisement.
The team, through a group owned by Sun Life Stadium called Miami First, took issue with Braman claiming he never took any public money when he owned the Philadelphia Eagles.
“Braman – as Eagles owner – was the beneficiary of a major public investment when the City of Philadelphia paid millions to build and renovate luxury skyboxes, which opened in 1987, two years after Braman acquired the franchise,” the ad read.
The ad continued, “Braman told lawmakers, “that if the city provided him the land and similar financial aid, he would provide the rest of the financing for a new home for the Eagles.”
The ad based the two claims on articles from the Philadelphia Inquirer in February 1994 and February 2003.
CBS4′s Cynthia Demos spoke with Norman Braman on the phone. Braman had some choice words about the ad.
“This is just a screwing of the public that the Marlin’s started and that the Dolphins are perpetuating,” He said. ”I’m honored by the fact that they decided to take a full page [and this is] desperation on their part.”
The team also took exception with Braman’s claim that the stadium needs a roof because the NFL was upset about rain during the 2009 Super Bowl. It was actually the 2007 Super Bowl in Miami that saw rainfall, but the team said the major reason Goodell wants a stadium improvement is to make sure the stadium can compete with other new stadiums being built across the NFL.
Goodell has previously indicated that if major improvements weren’t made to Sun Life Stadium, the Super Bowl may not be coming back to Miami any time soon. Miami has hosted the most Super Bowls of any site in history.
Rodney Barreto with the Super Bowl Host Committee is very in favor of the proposal. When asked if he viewed the ad as desperation, he said, “I don’t think so. Norman, let’s not kill this before we get out of the starting blocks.”
The Dolphins had a second ad in the paper that quoted several hotel and tourism leaders that have stated their support for the stadium improvements. The leaders supporting the stadium improvements include the general manager of the JW Marriott Marquis Miami, the Chairman of Loews Hotels and Resorts and Donald J. Trump.
The biggest issue for the Dolphins are the Miami Marlins and Marlins Park.
The Marlins made it incredibly difficult for any team to receive public funding after Miami and Miami-Dade County agreed to fund a majority of the new Marlins Park. The Marlins then responded by having another fire sale of talent that has the team in position to finish dead last.
The Dolphins have been doing everything in their power to make sure to differentiate the Sun Life Stadium improvement deal from the Marlins.
If the Sun Life Stadium improvements are approved, there will have been more than $650 million in improvements made to the stadium in the last decade.