SBD/May 8, 2013/Facilities

Dolphins CEO Insists Team Will Continue To Seek Public Funding For Renovations

Dee (l) said there was a "zero percent" chance Ross would move the team
Dolphins CEO Mike Dee yesterday said that the Dolphins "are 'absolutely not' closing the door on pursuing tax dollars again" for renovations to Sun Life Stadium after their bid for public funding died in the Florida House on Friday, according to Douglas Hanks of the MIAMI HERALD. Dee said, "We’re still going to explore ways to do this. ... This issue is not going to go away” (MIAMI HERALD, 5/8). However Dee noted on WFTL-AM's "The Andy Slater Show" the renovation plans at the moment are done, saying, "We don't have a Plan B." He said it would be “at least two years” before the Dolphins would attempt another referendum, as Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford “is chair for another year." Dee: "I think his position on this matter is now in stone.” He continued, "At the end of the day it really didn’t matter what was done to provide the voters of Miami-Dade County with the choice that they deserved. At the end of the day one guy decided that they didn’t have that choice. He gave us his word that the bill would be heard and unfortunately he didn’t deliver on that word." Dee said the question of why doesn’t Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross use his own money for the renovations “has been asked ad nauseam, and it just doesn’t make sense to do it at this time” (“The Andy Slater Show,” WMEN-AM, 5/7).

WEATHERFORD FIRES BACK
: In West Palm Beach, Ben Volin notes Weatherford yesterday "fired back" at recent criticisms from Dee and Ross, "denying assertions ... that he had promised to bring the bill to a vote and expressing significant doubt that the House would have passed it." Weatherford in a statement said, "At no point during the process were any promises made to hear the Dolphins Stadium bill on the House floor. It’s no coincidence that we haven’t heard about this so-called commitment until after the bill died.” Dee had said that Weatherford "put political motives ahead of the people’s right to vote." But Weatherford said of the bill, "Like 700 of the 1100 bills filed this session, it did not have the necessary support for passage." Volin writes Weatherford "wasn’t sympathetic to the team’s displeasure about paying for the referendum." Weatherford: "Some would call that putting the cart before the horse" (PALM BEACH POST, 5/8). Paul Pabst, the Exec Producer for "The Dan Patrick Show," said, "What’s going to happen here is, the Dolphins are going to pay the price that the Miami Marlins did. It's too bad because the Dolphins are not asking for a brand new stadium. They're asking for a lot of money, but for upgrades so they can have a Super Bowl which they will get if they upgrade the stadium” ("The Crossover," NBC Sports Network, 5/7). CBS' Allie LaForce noted the Dolphins were asking for $3M a year for 30 years. LaForce: "It’s a significant amount of money, but this is a place that has hosted 10 Super Bowls and they want to host a Super Bowl in the near future. It’s a long-term investment.” CBS' Doug Gottlieb said, “There’s stadium envy going on in Miami. See, the Marlins got a beautiful stadium right at the site of the old Orange Bowl in Little Havana and it was publicly funded. And so now the Dolphins are like, ‘Wait a second, we’ve drawn better, we get Super Bowls, we bring people to the city of Miami, to Ft. Lauderdale and all the other cities around, we deserve a new stadium with public funds just like the Marlins’" ("Lead Off," CBS Sports Network, 5/7).
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