Stadium News - Sort of

As GMFB so kindly, and timely, reported in the game comments yesterday, the Florida Supreme Court reversed their opinion on a public referendum being required in the Strand v. Escambia County case.

Sarah Talalay has the details.

The Marlins weren’t commenting today, but you know they have to pleased the Florida Supreme Court revised its opinion in the Strand v. Escambia County case from a year ago and ruled that bonds could be issued on large public works projects without a public referendum.

Not that the Marlins, Miami-Dade County or the city of Miami ever thought a public vote was necessary for the $515 million ballpark project, despite auto dealer Norman Braman’s contention in his lawsuit that all the projects included in the $3 billion Miami mega-plan should be subject to a vote. The ballpark does not rely on property tax dollars, but the mega-plan, which includes the port tunnel and performing arts center debt, links it to projects that do.

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Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jeri Beth Cohen put off ruling on the final count in Braman’s lawsuit – whether a public vote was needed on a portion of the financing for the mega-plan – while she awaited the Supreme Court’s decision in the Strand case. It isn’t clear when she will rule, but she has scheduled a hearing for Monday.

Assuming Judge Cohen is true to her word, this ends the idea that the mega-plan, which includes the stadium, has to go before the public for a vote.

Naturally, Braman plans to continue the fight.

Braman, however, wasn’t so giddy. He said his legal team is studying the ruling and he vowed, again, to fight on.

“We’re going to be moving ahead on an appellate basis on all the other counts,” said Braman, who appears on theForbes 400 list of richest Americans for the first time this year.

What all of this means is that the Marlins aren't out of the woods just yet.  But it is looking better.  However, the Marlins stadium will be tied up in appellate court for some time coming.

Also, the county still needs approve the construction, financing, etc. agreements to really get the ball rolling.  If for some reason, like local economy woes, the county decides not to spend the money and they would rather cut their losses and pay out the City of Miami and the Marlins.  Then we have a problem.  However, this probably won't happen.  I hope.

There are still some hurdles to clear but the referendum question is dead.  And that is good news.

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