Miami Heat Getting a Free Ride From Miami-Dade, County Inspector General Finds

Thumbnail image for American Airlines Arena.jpg
The long-awaited audit of the Miami Heat's contract with Miami-Dade County for the operation of American Airlines Arena is finally out. Last week, Banana Republican reported that Miami-Dade Inspector General Chris Mazzella's most critical finding was that the Miami Heat owes the county $3.1 million for budget overruns on improvements team owner Micky Arison made to the arena.

Heat officials are disputing Mazzella's assertion and most of the findings in his report, which takes county administrators to task for not keeping tabs on the arena's annual budgets, projections, and financial statements submitted to the county by Heat management.

While the inspector general did not turn up any fraud by the Heat, Mazzella concluded that a "number of questionable expenses were charged against arena revenues, thus lessening the county's prospects of receiving its proportional share of arena profits."

His nine-month investigation followed a New Times report that despite getting $72 million in taxpayer subsidies to run the Triple A and raking in a fortune since LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined the franchise, the Heat has avoided sharing any revenue with the county.

Mazzella essentially says no one at the county, particularly the mayor's office, understands how the agreement with the Heat is supposed to work, and that no one has ever questioned the team's annual budgets and financial statements regarding operation of the Triple A to see if any of the team's line items should set off alarm bells.

He also found that the main reason the Heat has not been sharing profits despite record breaking revenues is because the team owes $28 million in loans. Mazzella writes:
In fact, absent consideration of manager loans, etc., fiscal year 2011 would have been the first year that arena operations generated net cash flow greater than $14 million triggering the 60-40 profit share provision.
Jorge Luis Lopez, an attorney for Miami Heat affiliate company Basketball Properties LTD., which runs the arena, says Mazzella's report amounted to a waste of taxpayer money. "After months of extensive review at the expense of taxpayers, he released a report with nothing in it," Lopez said. "He is questioning improvements and expenses that are legitimate under the agreement."

Miami Heat Audit

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

if you haven't noticed, DJ Irie (official heat dj) is giving away tickets to Game 5 and the FINALS if they make it.

Check out the contest on his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/djiri... 

Drake Mallard
Drake Mallard

 Back in 1997, the owners of the Heat — which then played in the eight-year-old, publicly financed Miami Arena — threatened to move to Broward County unless they were given the bayside plot of land originally slated to become a public park. The Miami-Dade mayor at the time was Alex Penelas, who has a devastatingly pretty face and the business acumen of a Labrador retriever. After the county and team reached an agreement, Raúl Masvidal, the consultant hired to represent Penelas in negotiations with billionaire Carnival Cruise owner Micky Arison, told the New York Times: "We expect the county not only to come out even, we expect it to make money."

Sammie
Sammie

alex penelas is hotttttttt

Nene
Nene

mickey arison is grosssssss but rich so i;d still do him anyway

seep
seep

what shitty timing.  The Heat need to concentrate on winning the championship right now, and nothing else.

This franchise, along with the Marlins, has brought Miami great mirth in the 21st century.  You can't put a price tag on that.

So then, at least have the decency to release this report after the season is over.

Or, if they win it all, let the report perish in flames.

Go Heat.

Francisco Alvarado
Francisco Alvarado

Hey Seep, the New Times is not a PR arm of the Miami Heat in case you haven't noticed. News waits for no man. 

thankyoumiamidade
thankyoumiamidade

It has to do with accountablility!  If the Heat have an obligation to the county they should abide by it!  It has nothing to do with them winning.  I sure the players don't give a fuck about what's going on

Now Trending

Miami Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...