Miami Politicians Bend It for David Beckham

Categories: Luke's Gospel

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Alex Izaguirre
Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke tackles the groupie culture among Miami politicians.

In Miami, having a celebrity as a frontman practically guarantees politicians will approve a public boondoggle. Indeed, it seems Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez is ready to hand over prime waterfront land, owned by the taxpayers, to global soccer star David Beckham. The British football icon recently unveiled his vision for a soccer stadium at PortMiami. Beckham has even sweetened the pot, claiming he's talking to the University of Miami about moving the soccer team's home games out of Sun Life Stadium.

Gimenez and his cronies are star-struck. Small-owned businesses can't get a minute on the mayor's calendar, but a multimillionaire soccer player can ask for the port and get it. For a politician who won the mayor's seat in 2011 by promoting his vote against the Marlins ballpark, Gimenez has now supported two stadium deals. Last year, he helped Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross try to get public financing to revamp Sunlife Stadium.

Miami politicians have a track record of being Hollywood groupies. In 2001, celebrity racecar driver Emerson Fittipaldi partnered with prominent Miami architect Willy Bermello and local attorney Peter Yanowitch to return Grand Prix racing to the streets of downtown Miami. The City of Miami awarded them a no-bid deal that allowed Fittipaldi and crew to use Bayfront Park and rip up city sidewalks and city streets for the race course. They also received a $2 million loan from the Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority for the race, which was held in October 2002. Guess who was the city manager who inked the deal? Bingo! Gimenez.

In 2003, the three sold their interest for $1.2 million to a motorsports company that folded, leaving an oil slick of debt with the city and the sports authority.

Gimenez is not the only groupie mayor. Hialeah's Carlos Hernandez flimflammed city residents on behalf of former New York Yankees pitcher Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, who is not related to the mayor. In 2011, Hernandez awarded a no-bid contract to El Duke Sports Association LLC to take over all seven baseball fields at Hialeah's Babcock Park. El Duque closed off the fields with fences and padlocks. The only way to use them is to pay $300 to $500 per little-league team for El Duque's tournaments.

It seems you have to be famous for these politicians to help you. Either that or have a bag full of cash for their re-election campaigns.

Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1 and @unclelukesempir

Tune into Luke on the Andy Slater Show every Tuesday, 2 to 5 p.m., on Miami's Sports Animal, 940 AM.

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13 comments
DaTruth
DaTruth

This article is so full of half truths, and just blatant lies, it is a waste of time to even respond.  It is pointless to reason with the unreasonable.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

..................by getting this deal done PROVEs the elected officials are corrupt because otherwise there is no way this is a priority for MIAMI-DADE residents yet it jumps ahead of education, water management, traffic solutions, crime and poverty as items that SHOULD BE consuming the local officials time yet a random pet project gets to leap forward at light-speed

WHY ?

the elected officials got greased - there is simply NO other answer

Steve Klare
Steve Klare

no TAX DOLLARS should be used nor should they get primo property on the cheap!!!!

FatHand
FatHand

Luke was all about giving billionaire Stephen Ross $250 million of public money, saying he "deserved" it. One of Luke's most ridiculous columns.

Meli Misley
Meli Misley

Simple answer: Yes, Miami politicians are blinded by David Beckham celebrity status.

Phillip Morris
Phillip Morris

Soooo....Uncle Luke is against MLS returning to this city?

Street Player
Street Player

I want to build a Arena in the Heart of the City.

DRAKEMALLARD.0
DRAKEMALLARD.0 topcommenter


Every year, millions of taxpayer dollars are poured into stadiums, 
hockey rinks, baseball parks, and other arenas in order to attract and retain 
professional sports teams in big cities.  Often the money is spent by 
the cities after a team "threatens" to leave the city.When that happens, of course, the local news media act as the willing accomplices of the billionaires who own the teams.When city and state governments build facilities for sports organizations which are owned by billionaires, and raise taxes as a result, it is clearly an abuse of power the infrastructure Is falling apart and the schools are in decline with overcrowding and not enough quality teachers no after school programs no firemen,  no policemen, no health programs for the poor. also the cites  are always going to be in debt. this thing do make money.

it time for more recalls /jail time

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

don't blame beckham - he is being USED

construction projects are a major and significant SOURCE of kick-backs and bribes and fraud from contracted builders to local elected politicians - every vendor is required to participate

this is why the municipality can raise $562,ooo,ooo for a stadium and cannot find an extra penny for second grade school teachers

teachers don't pay million-dollar kick-backs and bribes

it is why continually construction goes on at the airport and on our roads

and sadly, it's why these same leaders would pave over the whole everglades

MIAMI is really too poor to afford all these extravagant sports teams just like RIO is too poor to host an OLYMPICs but guess where the 2016 SUMMER GAMES are going to be held ?

don't blame beckham - he is only the latest poster-image for the looting by your leadership (who wouldn't have been elected if they weren't corrupt in the first place)

anyway when YELLOW water starts regularly flowwing out of peoples taps then MAYBE someone will write about how the municipalities money should have fixed the MIAMI-DADE water and sewer system instead of build another new stadium

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