SEC Closes Investigation Into Marlins Park Funding

Marlins Park has been open four years, yet the Miami Marlins baseball team continues to lack in wins and attendance. The county mayor who oversaw the deal was long ago recalled by voters, and other politicians who went along with the deal are also out of office. However bad the project was for taxpayers, though, it appears there will be no civil or criminal charges forthcoming related to the deal. 

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) opened an investigation into the ballpark's funding in 2011, five months before it opened. According to the Miami Herald, that investigation is now closed, and no charges are expected. 

The investigation began with the SEC requesting records, meeting minutes, and other details of communication by the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County with team and Major League Baseball officials. Former MLB commissioner Bud Selig, his predecessor Robert DuPuy, team owner Jeffrey Loria, and team president David Samson were all named in a subpoena. The local governments, MLB, and the Marlins all agreed to cooperate. 

The investigation centered on the $500 million in bonds sold to finance the park. Reportedly, the SEC was doubtful of the Marlins' claim that they needed taxpayer support because they couldn't afford to build the stadium themselves. 

In 2010, Deadspin published leaked documents that showed that the Marlins had actually been turning a neat profit for years. The SEC wanted to make sure that bond buyers were fully aware and properly informed of all the involved parties' finances. 

The investigation could have resulted in criminal charges or fines.  However, the SEC reportedly hasn't found any wrongdoing. 

“Based on the information we have as of this date, we do not intend to recommend an enforcement action by the Commission against the City of Miami,” Elisha L. Frank, assistant regional director for the SEC’s Miami office, wrote to City Attorney Victoria Méndez, according to the Herald

Charges could still be filed if any new information arises, but it seems the Marlins are off the hook for now.