MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami city commissioners were fuming on Thursday after they say they were blindsided by news Friday that Mayor Tomas Regalado and David Beckham, one of the hottest personalities on the planet, had agreed to Beckham’s group building a Major League Soccer stadium in Miami on mostly city-owned land next to Marlins Park on the old Orange Bowl site.
“I didn’t find out about the stadium until I saw it on television,” said Miami city commissioner Willy Gort.
He wasn’t the only one upset by the news.
“I find it irresponsible and disrespectful to the residents the way this information came out,” said Commissioner Frank Carollo.
Carollo represents the old Orange Bowl district and is worried for residents of several apartment buildings and a daycare center that apparently will have to be razed to make room for a soccer stadium.
“What happens to all those people in that area who walk their children to that daycare?” asked Carollo.
Carollo said Regalado abandoned his constituents. That left the mayor bristling.
“I believe that I have never betrayed the residents,” said Regalado.
Amid the acrimony, one ringing endorsement for bending it with Beckham came from Commissioner Marc Sarnoff.
“We’re simply being asked ‘do we want Major League Soccer in Miami?’ We’d be crazy to say no,” he said.
Regalado said a litany of details will need to be negotiated for the stadium deal to be inked. Obstacles that Commissioner Sarnoff said can be overcome.
“Do we rent the land, sell the land, give them the land, those are the devil in the details,” said Sarnoff.
The mayor vowed Beckham will get no sweetheart deal on the city-owned plot.
“There will be no dollar a year lease,” said Regalado.
After getting assurances that residents will be kept informed and helped through the stadium project, commissioners gave the go ahead for talks with this superstar, but a binding handshake is at the moment a distant event.
Regalado told CBS4’s Gary Nelson that he is confident the deal will get done.
As for talks about a joint stadium between Beckham’s MLS team and the University of Miami football team, the idea seems far-fetched at this point.
UM Trustee Manny Cadre met with Regalado and Carollo for a little less than an hour on Thursday. Cadre declined to comment going in or coming out of the meeting.
Regalado told Nelson that nothing substantive came from the meeting, but suggested there is interest among some trustees of reviving a UM role.
No Beckham representative was at the meeting. A university spokesperson told Nelson that there are no ongoing discussions with Beckham’s people and that UM has “no involvement in the project.”