Florida senate leader calls Loria and Marlins "terrorists"
I posted this article because I knew Hogan would get a kick out of reading it.
Team seeks $$$ to stay in the Sunshine State
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
ESPN.com news services
The Florida Marlins, already hinting they might move to Las Vegas, say it will cost taxpayers another $60 million to keep the team in South Florida, the Palm Beach Post reported in Thursday's edition.
And the state's senate president is already bristling at the Marlins "terrorist" tactics.
In a letter to state House Speaker Allan Bense, Marlins president David Samson said not only does the team need a new stadium with a retractable roof because of rain delays and fan "discomfort," but the team's landlord will not renew the team's stadium lease, which expires in 2010.
"Our landlord has informed us that it will not, under any circumstances, extend or renew the current lease; thereby, giving the Marlins no place to play in South Florida after that time," Samson wrote in a Jan. 12 letter to Bense.
Bense told the Post on Wednesday that he has not studied the request, which comes a month after a much-publicized presentation by the team to Las Vegas regarding a possible move there.
"I want to look at it," Bense told the Post.
The Marlins, though, may have a bigger hurdle on the other side of the Capitol, where Senate President Tom Lee appeared less receptive.
"I thought that we already appropriated money to help them move to Vegas," he said. "I was very disappointed that they publicly announced the negotiations and discussions with Las Vegas, and I don't negotiate with terrorists."
The Post reported Samson wants $2 million a year for 30 years. He said that money would allow the team to borrow $30 million today and "close the current funding gap" toward a $360 million stadium. The city of Miami, Miami-Dade County and the Marlins also are picking up part of the tab, the Post reported.
"This entire transaction, and in fact the future of baseball in South Florida, hinges on securing a sales tax rebate from the state," Samson wrote.
Although Samson's letter describes the money as a "rebate," under the law, the money is actually a subsidy, not dependent on how much sales-tax revenue the new stadium generates.
In fact, Wayne Huizenga's Dolphins Stadium will continue to receive the $2 million a year it has been getting for the Marlins since 1993 for another 18 years -- whether the Marlins move to downtown Miami, Las Vegas or even, as was rumored two years ago, are eliminated as a franchise.
Current law prohibits a team from getting more than one subsidy. The new language Samson wants gets around that by reassigning the existing subsidy to the football Dolphins and letting the Marlins get the new subsidy.
Huizenga -- the original Marlins owner and the current owner of the Dolphins -- tried to get $2 million a year for the Dolphins in 1997, but the plan was defeated in the House on a floor vote.
At a recent news conference, Huizenga described the Marlins' possible departure as something the team brought up first, when it was owned by John Henry. Huizenga recently said the team's departure would allow him to stage other events and improve the stadium.
"They have informed us that they are leaving," Huizenga said. "We understand that they might stay until 2010, but that is not what I am hearing. I am hearing that they will be out before that."
Gov. Jeb Bush in 2000 rejected an attempt by the Marlins under Henry to build a new park using a tax on cruise ship passengers. Then, in 2001, a $240 million tax break for a new park died on the final day of the legislative session.
An attempt last year by the Marlins to get the $60 million subsidy also failed.
Florida senate leader backed off the "terrorist" statement
Marlins want $60 million in state money.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Florida Marlins want $60 million in state money to finance a new ballpark, a request the head of the state senate regards as blackmail.
A day after likening the team to "terrorists," Florida Senate President Tom Lee backed off that word but said he was angry the Marlins have talked to officials in Nevada about a possible move to Las Vegas. The Marlins' lease at the Miami Dolphins' stadium expires after the 2010 season, and Dolphins owner H. Wayne Huizenga says it won't be renewed.
"They're trying to blackmail us," Lee said. "If it becomes a question of which community wants the team bad enough, and which community is willing to pay the highest price for the sports team, you can count me out."
The Marlins want a 38,000-seat, retractable roof stadium.
"I would like for the Marlins to decide where they want to play baseball in the future and if it's in Florida, I'll try to help them, but if they want to play in Las Vegas, I'll come down and help them pack," Lee said. "That was a threat and it offended me. I feel like they're trying to put a gun to our head and I think they ought to revisit that strategy."
Marlins president David Samson sent House Speaker Allan Bense a letter asking for state help in passing a bill that failed to gain approval last year. The plan would raise $2 million a year for 30 years in what's called a sales tax rebate.
"Our lease at Dolphins Stadium expires in December 2010. Our landlord has informed us that it will not, under any circumstances, extend or renew the current lease; thereby, giving the Marlins no place to play in South Florida after that time," Samson wrote.
The team says the state money would be the final link in its funding for a $360 million stadium. The Marlins plan to spend $192 million for stadium construction, and the team is working with the city of Miami and Miami-Dade County to raise the rest of the money.
Lee, citing the Las Vegas talks, told a Palm Beach Post reporter Wednesday, "I don't negotiate with terrorists." On Thursday, he backed off the use of the word "terrorists," but maintained he will not deal with the Marlins if they want to talk to other cities.
"That description or that term has sort of taken on a different meaning after 9-11, and I certainly don't mean to suggest that they're acting within the context of those kinds of things," Lee said. "Blackmail's a great word."
Samson wouldn't comment on the "terrorist" remark, choosing to express optimism about his dealings with Lee.
"We are working closely with the city and county to finish a deal so we can go to Tallahassee together this session to discuss completing the deal in its entirety," Samson said. "We've met and spent time with the speaker of the House and the Senate president, and we're looking forward to doing more of that in the future."
Maybe he'll threaten to move back to Montreal :giggle:
Well, I hate to be like Mock and say I told you all so....BUT....
Loria & Samson come not to save a franchise but to bury it.....they know they won't get a stadium built on the public coin, no matter what....Henry couldn't do it, neither will they and the worst part of it all is...MLB knew it all along.
Slap will get his MLB team....the trouble is, it will still be run by these two azzholes who are this side of being outright criminals IMO.
I curse them both and all they touch.....a pox on it all.
The threat of moving wasn't what got the "terrorist" tag put on them. It was the envelope full of white powder that accompanied it. Only after the Senate was evacuated was in determined that the white powder was resin and not anthrax.
"Everything is going as I had foreseen....."
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