The plan to steer millions in public money to renovations for Sun Life Stadium is dead. It died Friday in the Florida house. There will be no public vote. No deal with the County. It's dead.
But what about the millions the Dolphins planned to invest in the project? Will they still pay for some smaller renovations out of their own pocket? Nope.
Dolphins CEO Mike Dee was on Jim DeFede's CBS 4 show on Sunday to discuss the fallout after Speaker of the House Will Weatherford refused to bring the Dolphins' bill up for a vote. Dee says that billionaire owner Stephen Ross has no plans to sell or relocate the team (not yet, anyway), but he won't spend his own money alone to revamp the stadium.
"We looked at this as a comprehensive modernization -- not a Band-Aid, not a quick fix," Dee said. "To break apart the components of the modernization on an à la carte basis really would be difficult."
Dee said Ross had no idea about the aging condition of the stadium when he bought the team in 2008. He also noted that renovating the stadium now would have been cheaper than building a new stadium in the future.
Ross, meanwhile, sent out a notably bitchy email that lambasted Weatherford for torpedoing the plan. Here's the heart of his statement:
Tonight, Speaker Weatherford did far more than just deny the people of Miami Dade the right to vote on an issue critical to the future of our local economy. The Speaker single-handedly put the future of Super Bowls and other big events at risk for Miami Dade and for all of Florida. He put politics before the people and the 4,000 jobs this project would have created for Miami-Dade and that is just wrong.
I am deeply disappointed by the Speaker's decision. He gave me and many others his word that this legislation would go to the floor of the House for a vote, where I know, and he knows, we had the votes to win by a margin as large as we did in the Senate. It's hard to understand why he would stop an election already in process and disenfranchise the 40,000 people who have already voted. I can only assume he felt it was in his political interest to do so. Time will tell if that is the case, but I am certain this decision will follow Speaker Weatherford for many years to come ...
In the weeks ahead, I will do all I can to convince my fellow owners to bring the Super Bowl back to Miami Dade. The Bid Committee has done a tremendous job to give us a great shot, and my only hope is that it is enough to overcome the terrible message Speaker Weatherford has sent to the NFL tonight. In addition, I will continue to do all I can to build a winning team for the people of Miami Dade.
In the future, 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.
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