Miami Gardens - Opa-locka

Miami Gardens plans to move bond funds to another bank

Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens.
Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens. El Nuevo Herald File

At its meeting Wednesday, the Miami Gardens City Council decided to pursue plans to move its general obligation bond money to another bank and on items related to Sun Life Stadium parking and development.

The main item

Miami Gardens has made plans to move the money from its general obligation bond issue to a new bank.

The city council passed a resolution at Wednesday’s meeting to move the proceeds of its $60 million bond for parks and police technology improvements from Wells Fargo to another bank.

Mayor Oliver Gilbert sponsored the item due in part to the city’s lawsuit against four banks—Citigroup, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo—for predatory mortgage lending. The lawsuit was filed in July 2014, and Gilbert said Wells Fargo has been unwilling to negotiate.

“You can’t help create a problem in my city, and when I need to go to the residents to pay to fix the problem, get to make the interest off the money,” Gilbert said.

Last year, the city of Miami, which filed similar suits against the banks, had its cases against Citigroup and Bank of America dismissed. The banks have denied any wrongdoing.

Councilman David Williams applauded the mayor for sponsoring the item and said it was a major step forward for the city.

“I think we need to continue to show people that we mean business, and you’re not going to take advantage of us,” Williams said.

The city’s bond issue was approved by voters through a mail-out ballot in April 2014.

Other business

▪ Stadium items: Council members passed two items related to Sun Life Stadium, with one likely resolving a lawsuit between the city and Miami-Dade County.

The council passed a resolution to strike a portion of the city charter related to control over building and zoning at the stadium and surrounding areas, called the Dolphin Center Development of Regional Impact.

If county leaders approve the change, Miami Gardens voters will vote on the charter amendment through a referendum.

The Dolphin Center DRI contains the area surrounding the stadium on Northwest 199th Street and Northwest 27th Avenue, and farther east toward Florida's Turnpike. The city sued last July over control of the area.

Additionally, the city agreed to lease a section of the Betty T. Ferguson Center parking lot to the stadium for employee parking throughout the Miami Dolphins 2015 season.

The agreement will last until the day after the last Dolphins home game of the season in January (or last home game in the playoffs). The stadium will pay the city $2,200 per event to use the lot.

The next meeting

▪ When: 7 p.m. Oct. 14.

▪ Where: Miami Gardens City Hall, 18605 NW 27th Ave., Miami Gardens.

Lance Dixon: 305-376-3708, @LDixon_3