Success has many fathers in the Florida Legislature. The Miami Dolphins stadium deal is an orphan.
And it will probably stay that way, ironically, thanks to the man who wanted it most: Stephen Ross, the Dolphins owner.
When the plan to use up to $380 million in taxpayer money to subsidize stadium upgrades died Friday, Ross sent out a threatening-sounding statement that bashed House Speaker Will Weatherford, essentially accused him of lying and stopped just short of promising to campaign against him.
I am certain this decision will follow Speaker Weatherford for many years to come, Ross said in the statement.
I will look to play an important role in fixing the dysfunction in Tallahassee and will continue to work to create good jobs in Miami-Dade and throughout South Florida.
Just before the statement came out, I asked Weatherford what his reaction would be if Ross or his supporters threatened to spend money against him.
Oh, wow, Weatherford said in a voice that sounded anything but surprised or worried. Good for them.
Are you scared?
No, Weatherford smiled.
Coming from a billionaire and major Republican financier (Ross probably helped contribute and raise about $3 million to help Mitt Romneys unsuccessful 2012 presidential campaign), Ross statement cant be ignored.
But it was stupid.
Now the support the Dolphins had in the GOP-led Legislature has been damaged. Lawmakers dont like it when special interests try to bigfoot them.
Well, there are other billionaires, quipped Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami.
Ross has made the Dolphins stadium effort politically personal.
House Republicans wont support a measure that appears to undermine the honor of their speaker or institution. And Republicans in the more-moderate Senate, where support was once strong for the Dolphins plan, will be less inclined to back a bill that seems to challenge the conservative House and needlessly takes on a rising star of the party.
If Ross wants another shot, he needs to apologize to Weatherford and the House.
Already, though, he has shown little willingness to play by the rules of Tallahassee.
Heading into the session, Ross needed to do things the rich and powerful hate to do: Ask, beg, plead.
And he didnt, especially when it came to the Miami-Dade delegations Republicans, a majority of whom opposed the measure. Thats a recipe for failure.
Ross needed to spend time with two key players who did more to kill the deal than Weatherford: Miami Republican Rep. Carlos Trujillo and New Port Richey Republican Rep. Richard Corcoran, who is slated to become House speaker in about four years and is a master of behind-the-scenes political assassination.
Ross wrote them off at his peril, one veteran lobbyist, familiar with the details of the deal, said on condition of anonymity.
If you dont have Richard Corcoran on your side, you at least need him to not work against you, the lobbyist said. Carlos is Richards guy. And Carlos was against this. Ross didnt reach out. He didnt do the care and feeding you need to do in a situation like this.
It was the same story in Miami-Dade.
A few select interviews aside, Ross generally hid from public view, perhaps at his waterfront mansion in Palm Beach, where he held a fundraiser for Romney. Its also the same county where Romney was caught on video at a high-dollar fundraiser suggesting that 47 percent of taxpayers were moochers and would vote for Obama because they want government handouts.