Future of Rickenbacker Marina Still in Limbo

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The future of a Virginia Key marina is up in the air once again. After years of litigation and several commission meetings on the topic, Miami commissioners voted Monday to reject both bids. 

“The City of Miami is not moving any quicker towards a world class marina,” said Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla. 

The current operator, Aabad Melwani, argued his bid was more advantageous to the city.

“With us there is no learning curve and we will provide a seamless transition for the city,” Melwani said.

The top bidder, Virginia Key LLC, argued the current operator owes the city money. 

“You have an auditor report that you’ve received that suggests that this operator currently owes the city $155,660 in additional rent, late fees, and audit costs,” said attorney Al Dotson. 

According to Melwani, they “only owe a total of $14,000 in what they consider slightly underreported rent and late fees on that actual rent.” 

Commissioner Ken Russell expressed environmental responsibility concerns with Virginia Key LLC. 

“Contractors working for the winning bidder’s principles dumped over 30million gallons of raw sewage into Biscayne Bay in the year 2000,” Russell said.

“We did not do it, but as soon as we heard it took place we immediately responded,” argued Dotson. 

The City Manager recommended commissioners select the number one bidder, however, since all bids were rejected a new request for proposal process will now begin. 

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