SEC Investigates Miami Marlins Ballpark Deal: Report

The price of the stadium hovers around $650 million

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Construction work continues on the New Miami Marlin's Ballpark, but now the deal to get the stadium off the ground is facing tough questions. (Published Sunday, Dec 4, 2011)

    Construction work continues on the New Miami Marlin's Ballpark, but now the deal to get the stadium off the ground is facing tough questions.

    A federal probe headed by the US Securities & Exchange commission is looking into the ballpark deal the Marlins made with the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County.
    ThE SEC Slapped the city and county with subpoenas, seeking information about $500 million in bond sales and even records of campaign contributions to local politicians.

    The SEC has also asked for Marlins' finances dating back to 2007 and meeting minutes between Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and other local officials.
     
    "Yes, we are aware of the investigation that the SEC is conducting on the issuance of the county's and city's stadium and parking bonds. Of course we will fully cooperate with
    the SEC's investigation as needed and assist in whatever way possible. Because this is an on-going matter, it is not appropriate to comment further," the Miami Marlins said in an email statement Saturday.
     
    The county also vows to cooperate. "We will comply with the SEC's request and provide the documents they are asking for," said Suzy Trutie, Miami-Dade County spokeswoman.

    The controversial deal sparked outrage among some, as the county and city took on about 80 percent of the cost of the $634 million construction project. News of the Federal probe
    is music to auto billionaire Norman Braman's ears. It was Braman who brought forth a lawsuit to stop construction of the ballpark two years agao. Braman told NBC Miami, he's very pleased with the investigation,
    calling it "a victory for tax-payers."

    But digging into the details on the controversial deal could cost Miami. It is currently dealing with a separate SEC investigation that's racked up a 1.4 million dollar bill.
    City commissioner Francis Suarez says this could further burden taxpayers.

    "An indication of a new investigaton should worry taxpayers. It's an indication it could further cost us a million dollars or more," said Commissioner Suarez to NBC Miami.

    And should the investigation find wrongdoing Francis worries it would cost the city in different ways.

    "Our ability to borrow money could be affected, our credit rating could change, and it could hurt financially if were required to pay back-penalties or fees," explained Suarez.

    The SEC is also looking into the stadium parking garages. Officials have said they have to pay as much as $2 million in property taxes to the county beacuse they are leasing the stadium's
    individual parking spots in the garage to the Marlins.

    Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

    The City and County have until January 6 to provide federal authorities with the information they seek.