In 1993, nearly 25 years ago, the residents of Miami-Dade welcomed the Florida Marlins Major League Baseball franchise to our community.
Over the years, the community has celebrated two World Series titles, watched numerous baseball hall of famers, and experienced the exchange of ownership which included the team changing its name to the Miami Marlins in 2012.
In 2009, after the Miami Marlins ownership, under Jeffery Loria, threatened to relocate the franchise, Marlins Park Stadium was built with over $500 Million of public funds from both city of Miami and Miami-Dade County with mixed support from the community.
This approximate $500 Million contribution of public funding represents an overwhelming majority share of the cost of the stadium and parking garages that surround it.
In exchange for public funding to develop the new ballpark for the Miami Marlins, an agreement was made to allow the city of Miami and Miami-Dade County to receive an equity payment when the franchise was sold.
Unfortunately, on Feb. 1, 2018, the Miami Marlins franchise notified the county that it will not receive any portion of the net proceeds from the $1.2 billion sale of team in October 2017, even though the team was purchased for $158.5 million in 2002.
At issue, among other things, is the Marlins franchise has provided a vague and unsupported valuation of the county’s equity portion of the sale, which they claim to be zero dollars. The math just does not add up.
Last week, in a letter to Mayor Carlos Gimenez, I requested that he make every effort to ensure that the county expeditiously pursue collection of any and all monies that are owed to Miami-Dade County from the sale of the Miami Marlins franchise.
The County has since filed suit to recover amounts due. I look forward to working with Mayor Gimenez and the Board of County Commissioners on taking any and all steps necessary to protect the taxpayers of Miami-Dade county related to this sale.
If recovered, these revenues potentially could fund services such as public safety and transportation, both which are crucial to improving the quality of life of our residents.
As chairman of the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners and as a taxpayer alongside the 2.7 million residents of Miami-Dade, I am appalled and gravely concerned at any notion that the sale of the Miami Marlins would allow the franchise to turn its back on its commitments to this community.
The residents of Miami-Dade County deserve better.
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Esteban L. Bovo Jr. is a Miami-Dade Commissioner. He represents District 13.