Heat Admit To Jumping The Gun With Arena Announcement During Ongoing Negotiations
The Heat on Thursday "sought to defuse an awkward stand-off" with Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez after team Owner Micky Arison’s announcement that the mayor "had endorsed a new arena deal that Gimenez later said he doesn’t support," according to a front-page piece by Hanks & Mazzei of the MIAMI HERALD. Arison on Wednesday sent out an e-mail to season-ticket holders "announcing a deal with Gimenez." Heat lobbyist Jorge Luis Lopez, who helped prepare the e-mail, said, "The words were more final than they should have been. It failed to clarify that the negotiations were ongoing." Gimenez said that he was "still baffled at Arison’s sending out the email, which touted an extended lease that would have the Heat pay rent on the county-owned AmericanAirlines Arena but also increase Miami-Dade’s subsidy tab" by about $121M through '40. He added, "For some time, I relayed to them I was not comfortable with that amount." Hanks & Mazzei report neither the Heat nor the county "fully clarifed how the mixed messages came to be," but the situation has "helped reveal a rift between County Hall and the Heat over the long-sought deal to add 10 years to the arena’s lease, as well as skepticism among commissioners that Arison’s favored terms were fair to Miami-Dade" (MIAMI HERALD, 4/25).