Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke assesses Stephen Ross' next move.
In the battle of Miami billionaires, Norman Braman beat Stephen Ross thanks to Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford. But now the Miami Dolphins owner is ready to go to war after Weatherford killed his chances of getting up to $380 million in taxpayer money to subsidize a roof and other upgrades for Sun Life Stadium.
When the bill that would have allowed Miami-Dade voters to vote on the plan died last Friday, Ross issued a statement that pretty much sounded like a threat. "I am certain this decision will follow Speaker Weatherford for many years to come," Ross said in the statement. "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."
Going into the fourth quarter of the legislative session, the Dolphins were so close to a victory. The Senate approved the stadium bill by an overwhelming majority, but then Weathford came up with defensive stop after defensive stop to snatch the game away from Ross. No wonder Braman was telling the media he was waiting to see how things played out in Tallahassee. He took the over on Weatherford, as well as representatives from Miami -- Carlos Trujillo and Michael Bileca -- who lobbied hard against the Dolphins.
They whupped Ross and his all-star team of lobbyists, led by the usually unbeatable Ron Book. Now Ross is pissed. He's gonna take some time to lick his wounds and get ready for the Dolphins' 2013-14 season.
Despite denying it, Ross will probably pay for the renovations to Sun Life. At the end of the day, he spent half a billion dollars to own that property. He's a smart businessman who knows he has to invest money into the stadium to increase its value. His only other option is to sell it. I don't see that happening.
But you better believe Braman now has Ross' full attention.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.
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