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Stadium News - Sort of

The negotiations for a settlement failed (big surprise) and so the Braman trail started on Monday.

Sarah Talalay keeps us informed, as always.

When auto dealer Norman Braman -- plaintiff in the case against the financing for a Marlins ballpark and other Miami projects -- took the stand at the end of the first day of the trial in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, that’s when things got interesting.

Braman told the court he didn’t believe public tax dollars should be used to fund a private enterprise – and ballplayers’ salaries – without a vote of the public. He also raised an issue his attorneys had spent a lot of time questioning public officials about: the financial wherewithal of the Marlins. Too bad Judge Jeri Beth Cohen agreed with Marlins attorney Sandy Bohrer that the team’s finances were irrelevant to the case.

But not before Braman and his attorneys made their point about the team’s financial health.

“I’m opposed to the baseball stadium for a lot of reasons,” Braman said. “I know the Marlins do not have the financial capacity…”

I'm a little confused.  Braman was arguing that public money shouldn't be used to help a for profit organization and then proceeded to backup his argument with the Marlins aren't making any money.  I guess the latter has to do with the Marlins not being able to come up with their part of the financing.

...Braman says he received from Marlins President David Samson in 2003.


Braman attorney Bob Martinez said the document shows the team was $150 million in debt and had no equity. Braman later slipped in that he turned down the team’s request to invest because “I could not invest in a company that had $163 million…” but he was again cut off (by Bohrer's objections).


...Samson said he had "no recollection" of the document he is said to have shared with Braman.



Other testimony during the day – shown via video -- focused on whether public officials had questioned the Marlins about their finances, ever asked to look at their books and if they knew why the Marlins need public money for a stadium.

“My understanding is they can’t afford it,” County Mayor Carlos Alvarez said, when asked why the team needed tax dollars for its proposed $515 million ballpark at the site of the Orange Bowl.


The trial resumes Tuesday morning with witnesses expected to include Miami-Dade County Manager George Burgess and perhaps Samson.


And the fun continues tomorrow.

Normally I would be very worried about Samson taking the stand, but I must admit he did a pretty decent job when presenting before the County his last time out.  So maybe he will again.  And should he open mouth and insert foot, hopefully Bohrer can pry it loose.

I butchered Ms. Talalay's post, so I recommend you go read it in its entirety.