Lincoln Diaz-Balart Lies While Shilling for Genting In Herald Op-Ed Piece

Thumbnail image for lincoln.jpg
Lincoln Diaz-Balart wants you to bet on Genting.
In Saturday's edition of the Miami Herald, former U.S. Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart penned an opinion letter shilling for his client, Genting, the Malaysian-based gaming conglomerate that wants to transform the last prime piece of downtown Miami's waterfront land into a gargantuan casino.

Diaz-Balart cautions Herald readers "to see through the scare tactics," supposedly being used by the growing coalition of opponents, from some of Miami's most prominent arts patrons to the Walt Disney Co. to state attorney general Pam Bondi. Yet, Diaz-Balart uses disingenuous misinformation to relay his message to the residents of Miami-Dade County.

Let's count the way's Lincoln is wrong:

He claims "Native Americans have a casino monopoly for which they cannot be taxed." Not exactly. Last year, the state legislature approved the gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida that will pay the state an estimated $1 billion during the first five years of a 20-year deal. The tribe, which operates five casinos in Florida including Hollywood's Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, has threatened to terminate the compact if the proposed bill for the "destination resorts" passes.

"Each of the three destination resorts would be required to make an investment of at least $2 billion in our community," Diaz-Balart writes. But he doesn't mention that the three resorts would only have to submit to a measly 10 percent annual tax rate while South Florida parimutuel casinos like Gulfstream Park are taxed at 35 percent.

As a barometer for the jobs Genting will bring to Miami, Diaz-Balart brags that Genting recently opened its casino at the Aqueduct horse track in Queens, which will employ a majority of its 1,500 workers from within New York City.

Yet Diaz-Balart doesn't explain the Queens racino is located in a depressed neighborhood, miles away from Manhattan, or that Genting agreed to pay the Empire State a $380 million upfront fee and a 66 percent tax rate to build a gambling facility that is significant smaller than the company's proposed Miami resort.

Diaz-Balart also boasts how Singapore, where Genting operates one of two casino resorts in the Asian city-state, "has created 60,000 jobs without changing its character, its brand."

Indeed, Singapore's government has maintained its draconian reputation for regulating the behavior of its citizens, who are required to pay $80 for a one-day pass to enter one of the casinos. Family members can also blacklist gambling addicted relatives from entering the casinos, which are banned from promoting or advertising locally.The ex-congressman's phony arguments weren't lost on some Herald readers who admonished Diaz-Balart in the online comments section.

"Congressman Diaz-Balart may think that destination gambling will not change South Florida's brand. But the fact that he is willing to sell his credibility and prestige to the gambling industry as a lobbyist surely hurts the Diaz-Balart brand," writes Tom Highway.

Another commentator, YoYoMano, adds, "to have a 'family values' politico sell his soul to the gambling industry is such a vivid and public way is almost joyful poetic justice. But the stakes are too high for gloating."

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.
My Voice Nation Help
14 comments
John
John

I took time to read this article given its inflammatory headline. I must say that the author did not prove the claim. Statements attributed to Diaz-Balart were quoted and then opinions were rendered about them that were inapplicable. New Times usually does much better. The Genting project is complicated but those who look throughoutly at the plan see that it is not only a positive thing for the community it might be the only thing to save the community, particularly from the special interest groups who would lead you to believe otherwise while they hang on to their piece of gambling and offer no jobs or additional revenue to Florida.

Casino Grinder
Casino Grinder

Money talks. At least there is one good thing about those new casinos - new job places that a very needed in the region at the moment.

siennamiller
siennamiller

Perhaps he generalized and didn't fully explain because you don't often get the opportunity to have an in-depth interview in the paper. Even his own opinion letter was probably edited prior to publishing - thats how it works. But this is not really the issue is it?

You have now presented the facts and its up to the people to decide if they want casino gambling. As you have said, there are already 5 Seminole casinos. Will 3 more hurt Miami?

What if Genting makes concessions and pays the same tax as the para-mutuels? Can we afford to turn down a business that will bring in $2 Billion in revenue and thousands of jobs? I don't think we can.

Drake Mallard
Drake Mallard

more pork project from Lincoln Diaz-Balart

$21,999,000

RippedOff
RippedOff

His client?  Either you are representing the people OR you are working for a corporation.  You can't have it both ways scumbag.   Amazing this isn't illegal.

Wildykat
Wildykat

Seep,

Miami is no New York. Guess this is one of the "small businesses" that higher taxes would harm. Miami stop voting the same crooks into office. When will you ever learn?

seep
seep

I think your point of view is paranoid and provincial.  I keep thinking about the culture of New York City being seemingly unspoilable by whatever new business enterprises invade it.  Times Square is a cultural mecca despite having a million titty bars right next to it on 7th Ave.  If the city is big enough, it will absorb and incorporate any new components.

Raymond Longaray
Raymond Longaray

I have never trusted Diaz, now I see why he did not run again for a  political position. Why does he has to always play with the truth

Raymond Longaray
Raymond Longaray

I am sure his brother and Mrs. Ileana Ross agree with him

Toogoodtobetrue
Toogoodtobetrue

No matter how well they dress, historically the gambling industry has always wielded insatiable and unmerciful power, corruption and grandiose greed. Just part of the business... sound familiar? Now, are we ready for this in a grand scale?

Alejandro Almirola
Alejandro Almirola

This just shows how Republicans like Lincoln are such hypocrites with regards to casinos. I thought the Republicans were mostly against casino gambling, but I guess it doesn't apply when they can profit from it. This also shows how little respect he has for the people by not trying to being factually correct in his op-ed piece. I guess the Republicans are willing to sell their supposed moral values to the highest bidder. Having said all that, I'm still for expanding casino gambling in Florida since it has the huge potential to revitalize this city and expand our tourism base. However, it has to be done in a way where we're not screwed over by the casinos. 

Tim Kling
Tim Kling

Look at Macau, the independent region associated with The People's Republic of China.  China has set this former Portuguese influenced, Chinese state as a gambling destination for its people.  Why take the risk of opening a small business, when you can make just as much (if not, more) by working for the casinos?  The industry has sucked the life, blood, and tradition from these people.  If you're a fan of cafecito and sandwicherias, say goodbye.  It will only be a matter of time.

Minimarlo W
Minimarlo W

Yes, L. Diaz-Balart is working for clients now.  I don't know if you noticed, but he hasn't served in office since January 2011. He's got to maintain his sleazy living somehow, obviously not serving the people. 

Now Trending

Miami Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...