MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Marlins President David Samson has been in hot water since an article surfaced this week quoting him saying “We’re not the smartest people in Miami,” a quote he adamantly denied.
Samson is being slammed all over the Internet for being critical of politicians, Miamians, and recall elections. It all started with an article published on miamitodaynews.com about comments Samson made at a Beacon Council breakfast meeting Monday in Downtown Miami.
Thursday, the Beacon Council provided video of the meeting in which the quote in question is heard, except, it’s only half of what was said.
“I don’t think anyone in this community has the ability to speak completely intellectually on every issue that confronts the local government. That’s not to say we are not the smartest in Miami,” Samson said.
The point Samson was trying to make is that Miami politics are hard to follow. During the unscripted speech, he told an audience of roughly 75 people, “I can talk about the recall in a minute because I’m finally free to talk about it. The ballpark is built. I don’t have to hold anything back. Not that I ever did.”
Samson didn’t hold back, but it wasn’t bashing Miamians. Rather he revealed that the Marlins front office drove the team into the ground on purpose as part of a plan.
“We let it bottom out. We pretended we were going to move. We didn’t want to move.” Samson said. “We wanted to be in Miami. Why did we want to be in Miami? Because we know for a fact we could make more money here than in San Antonio.”
He expanded at points talking about buying a huge cowboy hat and then wearing it on television at a game in San Antonio to stir up rumors of a team move.
The Marlins President didn’t hide his distaste for Norman Braman, the auto tycoon who sued to stop the stadium.
“I see Norman Braman telling everyone how bad they are doing. Well you know what stand up and run for office. Let’s go Norman. If you have all this time and money, run. Let’s see what it’s like for you to run a budget.” Samson said.
He followed up on the statement, stating “I think Norman is very charitable and I think he’s fine. I just have a very major philosophical difference with the way he went about doing it.”
Samson was also critical of the recall that pushed out the very politician who spearheaded the Marlins stadium deal, former Mayor Carlos Alvarez.
“Do you know what the rate of people that turned out for the recall?” he asked the audience. “It’s pathetic. There is nothing that bothers me more than a community that cries all the ills in the community and themselves and then they don’t vote?”
As to the misquote from Miami Today, Samson oddly referenced it in the same speech Monday. As Miami Today reporter Scott Blake asked tough questions, Samson began to criticize the paper and its editor. He told Blake he no longer read the editors column.
“People with a pen have a tendency to use it as a sword when they actually don’t have all the facts. And it can be very divisive for a community and for business. So just be careful.” he said.
In the same Miami Today article, Editor Michael Lewis admitted that “Mr. Samson was right that Miami Today was against the stadium deal. It was a bad deal for the taxpayers and we said so editorially. However, in the news columns, Miami Today is strictly neutral and fair, as well as being factual.”
Reached late Thursday afternoon, Lewis told CBS4 News they were now reviewing the video from the Beacon Council. He admitted the reference to “we’re not the smartest people in Miami” was not complete and out of context. He said he planned to issue a correction in next week’s paper.