The Miami Dolphins underwrote the $4.78 million cost of a referendum on whether the club gets tax money to help retrofit Sun Life Stadium.
But if the Legislature doesn’t approve the deal to steer as much as $379 million to the Dolphins, the May 14 vote in Miami-Dade won’t count.
The Dolphins club will be out of luck. And out of its money.
“The Dolphins never called us and asked: ‘How are we looking before we pay for it [the referendum]?’” said House Speaker Will Weatherford, whose chamber has stalled the legislation.
Welcome to the NFL in Tallahassee.
And then there are competing agendas and rivalries that further complicate everything.
So the Dolphins bill is in trouble, but still alive?
“Correct,” said Weatherford. But he added: “There’s time.”
Not much any more. As in football, clock-management matters.
The Dolphins say time is of the essence because the NFL is about to decide the next locations for future Super Bowls, and Sun Life would have a better shot at landing the event if the stadium were renovated.
Meantime, the 60-day regular lawmaking session ends Friday. If the legislation doesn’t pass by then, the Dolphins will probably have to wait a year for another shot.
“The last week of session is put up or shut up time,” Weatherford said.
Therein lies another problem for the Dolphins: What could they put up and what will the House say?