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Marlins stadium bill causes rift, threats among Miami Republicans in House

Likely to face another Republican in a tough political race this fall, Rep. Ana Rivas Logan went rogue Tuesday, challenging other Miami Republicans over a contentious Marlins parking garage issue. Before making the maverick move, she received a threatening phone call at home warning her not to file her amendment, she said.

She filed the amendment anyway, attempting to delete language from a bill intended to shield the city of Miami from having to pay $1.2 million in taxes on the parking garages at the new stadium.

“This language is unconstitutional and throws the towel at a poorly executed agreement between the city of Miami and the Florida Marlins,” Logan said. “To have the Florida Legislature to get involved in this issue--a very local issue--is not just wrong, but it's politically incorrect.”

The move put Logan up against the amendment author, Rep. Jose Diaz, and the chairman of the Miami-Dade delegation, Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, who is the chief backer of the stadium language.

Diaz and Logan are expected to face each other in a newly drawn district in November.

Logan said she was filing the amendment to force Miami to go after the Marlins in a lawsuit, and recoup the property taxes on the parking garage. She denied that there was any political backstory to the move to scrap Diaz’s amendment.

Reps. Carlos Trujillo and Michael Bileca, also Miami Republicans, got in on the debate as well, stating that Logan’s amendment was counterproductive to helping taxpayers. Logan stood her ground, saying she was willing to "stand alone" if she had to.

It’s not clear who was behind the threatening phone call Logan said she received.

“Last night I received a phone call to my home, a threat, saying for me to pull this amendment because I was going to lose on this House floor anyway,” Logan said. “I’m not here to lose or win. I’m here to do the right thing.”

The amendment failed, in a 73-41 vote, after Lopez-Cantera, who holds a powerful position as a majority leader, spoke out against it.

Eight Republicans joined Logan to vote for her amendment. It was the first time the bill received any substantial debate, despite the fact that House analysts have warned that the provision may be unconstitutional. The bill is expected to get a full vote in the House and the Senate in the coming days.

BONUS: Another political race where the stadium issue might come up: Miami-Dade Property Appraiser.

New talk in political circles hinted that Lopez-Cantera might run for Miami-Dade property appraiser, a position currently held by Pedro Garcia. It was Garcia who alerted the city of Miami last year that it may have to pay as much as $2 million in taxes for the parking garages.

 Lopez-Cantera would not confirm or deny the rumor about a run for property appraiser.

--@ToluseO

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