Norman Braman had his first day in court and there was some good news and some, maybe, bad news.
Sarah Talalay keeps us up to date .
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Pedro Echarte Jr. let stand Braman's claims that the proposed $515 million ballpark at the site of theOrange Bowl violates Florida's constitution. Braman's suit says the deal relies on public funding for a private business and uses $50 million approved by voters in 2004 to renovate the Orange Bowl, not build a ballpark.
Echarte dismissed claims that County Manager George Burgess violated the state's public records law by negotiating the agreement in private.
The case is scheduled to go to trial on July 1.
If I'm reading this correctly, here is where it stands at moment: initially Braman will argue that the $50 million agreed to by the voters shouldn't be used to build a new baseball stadium since it wasn't what they voted for. That argument probably won't have legs to stand on especially since a new baseball stadium brings in more revenue to the community than a renovated Orange Bowl ever could.
Also, if I understand county procedure when it comes to bond financing, they can move monies around as long as the proper conditions are met. And they were.
The next thing he will argue is that CRA money is being used for the performance arts center in order to free up tourist dollars to pay for the stadium. But since the stadium deal stands alone, as I understand it, from the mega-plan, that's the county's headache should the court agree with Braman. They still have to come up with the money or default on the agreement and pay the City of Miami and the Marlins back all of their cost.
The final thing he will try:
whether the stadium "serves a paramount public purpose."
If the court decides the new stadium doesn't "serves a paramount public purpose" then government money can't be used to build it. This argument is a shot in the dark given the amount of public money that has been spent on facilities in the past that serve a small number of the population.
His lawsuit reminds me of the Racehorse Haynes theory on defense (in this case, offense). Mr. Haynes was once asked his style of defense to which he said (and I paraphrase):
Let's say my dog bites you. My first defense is my dog doesn't bite. If you bring in witnesses who have been bitten by my dog then: my second line of defense is that my dog was tied up in the back yard on that day. If you bring in witnesses who say my dog was roaming the neighborhood on the day in question then: my last line of defense is: I don't have a dog.
I don't think Braman's lawsuit is going to fundamentally change anything. The county has lawyers and they, presumably, looked over everything before it was approved. The only thing the lawsuit has the potential of doing is causing a delay in the construction of the park. But right now, given a construction agreement hasn't been approved, this may not end up being a big concern