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Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross blasts Weatherford for spiking Dolphins deal

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is none-too-happy with House Speaker Will Weatherford, after the team's attempt for a taxpayer-supported stadium flamed out in the Florida House on Friday.

In a statement, Ross blamed Weatherford for killing the deal and said that the House Speaker gave him his word the bill would come up for a vote.

Weatherford refuted claims Thursday that he had told Dan Marino the bill was likely to pass. 

In the end, the House Speaker said that kind of legislation needed more vetting before being approved by the Legislature.

See comment from Ross here:

Tonight, Speaker Weatherford did far more than just deny the people of Miami Dade the right to vote on an issue critical to the future of our local economy.  The Speaker singlehandedly put the future of Super Bowls and other big events at risk for Miami Dade and for all of Florida. He put politics before the people and the 4,000 jobs this project would have created for Miami Dade,and that is just wrong.


I am deeply disappointed by the Speaker's decision. He gave me and many others his word that this legislation would go to the floor of the House for a vote, where I know, and he knows, we had the votes to win by a margin as large as we did in the Senate. It’s hard to understand why he would stop an election already in process and disenfranchise the 40,000 people who have already voted. I can only assume he felt it was in his political interest to do so. Time will tell if that is the case, but I am certain this decision will follow Speaker Weatherford for many years to come.


I want to thank Mayor Gimenez for his leadership. He was a tough negotiator whose persistence led to an agreement that offered taxpayers the strongest protections of any agreement of this kind in the country. I also want to thank our bill sponsorsand supporters in Tallahassee, especially Senator OscarBraynon, Representative Erik Fresen and Representative Eddy Gonzalez; our County Commission sponsors, Commissioners Jordan, Diaz and Barreiro, as well as all of our supporters on the County Commission; HT Smith and Jorge Arrizurietta, the Co-Chairs of the Miami First Campaign; The University of Miami; The Orange Bowl Committee; The Greater Miami Hotel Association; the many volunteers who lent their support to our campaign, and the members of the Dolphins organization and our campaign team who worked so hard in the last several weeks. I believe without a doubt that the voters would have supported this project if the votes had been counted on May 14th.


In the weeks ahead, I will do all I can to convince my fellow owners to bring the Super Bowl back to Miami Dade. The Bid Committee has done a tremendous job to give us a great shot, and my only hope is that it is enough to overcome the terrible message Speaker Weatherford has sent to the NFL tonight. In addition, I will continue to do all I can to build a winning teamfor the people of Miami Dade.


In the future, I will look to play an important role in fixing the dysfunction in Tallahassee and will continue to work to create good jobs in Miami Dade and throughout South Florida


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Money Talks

All talk. I bet he'll do nothing.

J. D. Sheppard

Good for Speaker Weatherford and the legislature. Put the money towards education and create 40,000 jobs, not 4,000. Why should the taxpayers of Florida fund a group of overpaid, usually under educated individuals. You want a new stadium, pay for it yourself. When times are tough, corporations, cut costs for expansion. Stop over paying these alledged athletes. Pay for performance. Results are rewarded. Not failure. Start acting like a corporation, instead of an elitist organization. Very tired of the arrogance of pro athletes and their owners.

Dumb Move

Pissing off a guy with $4.4 billion is generally not a good idea when you're an aspiring politician. Especially when that guy is one of the biggest fundraisers in the Republican Party.

Weatherford, Trujillo, Bileca, and the balding Democrat better hope that Braman lives a long time, because they are going to need a LOT of his money to save their political careers.

Next election cycle should be interesting...

J. D. Sheppard

For a politician, they should remember it is about public service, not self service.

A PTA mom

If they are going after Trujillo, I think alot the parents he insulted during the parent trigger debate would be very willing to help.



An Educated Voter

To J.D. Shepard,,,do you understand how the bed tax works? This money CANNOT be used for education. Like the deal or not, but please understand it before you comment on it!


One of the above comments is that Ross is worth 4.4 billion dollars. Putting a roof on the stadium that he owns will cost chump change for him. And who needs a roof anyway? Do they have a roof on Giants stadium for next year's Super Bowl being held in the dead of winter? No. Case closed.

J. D. Sheppard

At least I post my name. Money for education attracts employers. Maybe the bed tax needs to be redirected or changed. Let professional sports pay for themselves. No more tax dollars for professional sports. Do the tax dollar math versus professional sports.


Great job and a super victory for the people of Miami-Dade County. No more corporate welfare handouts to billionaires. Pay for your OWN stadium Ross!!! NOW!!!

An Educated Voter

Redirection of bed tax dollars is a different argument. In the current form, this money comes primarily from tourists, not county taxpayers, to be used for tourist related items. By the current definition, the stadium falls under that definition. I would like the LOCAL voters have a as in the matter, not our political masters in Tallahassee.

An Educated Voter

Have a say,,,,


For once Tallahassee served our interests, since our crooked politicians were already bought.
Football is entertainment, not a public benefit, and its fans should be the ones to pay for it.

AB Jones

Give Speaker Weatherford the boot!


Some of these arguments are pure ignorance. The people of Miami-Dade would have been the ones with the tax burden. Rather it would be a tourist tax. So basically New Yorkers would have been paying for the Miami Dolphins stadium.





Jai W

"An Educated Voter" Seems to me to be the only one educated on this topic. You must be local. The others should do their research or maybe even just actually READ and UNDERSTAND this article before commenting on it. #1 it's not a ROOF they are putting up. They are providing SHADE in the form of an awning of sorts along with other MUCH NEEDED improvements. Mickey? Have you ever been to a Dolphins game in the heat of the blistering sun? I have for SEVERAL seasons! I have also finally given up my season ticket for exactly that reason. By the time the sun started to go down somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd quarter, the sun/ heat was unbearable in my section. And to JD.... the bed tax would be paid by tourists NOT locals... which would bring yes 4,000 jobs... 4,000 MUCH NEEDED jobs. No not 40,000 like you suggested, but now it will be NONE.... 4,000 LOCAL families could have benefited from the TOURISTS bed tax. Maybe one of your friends or family members could have benefited, but now NO ONE will! And having Superbowl 50 in Miami would have provided MILLIONS if not BILLIONS of dollars into our economy and we can now kiss THAT good bye also!

Jai W

Mike... exactly! Finally, someone else who actually UNDERSTOOD!
So Ross paid $5 Million for an early election that will not take place now. There is only $1 Million of it still left over. I am sure he will never see any of that money back, but I highly DOUBT it will go to education EITHER. As some of you have suggested the tax $ should have gone for. I am sure it will be lining some politicians pockets.

Jai W

To AB Jones...... I AGREE! I would bet $$ on it come election time he will be gone!

ra gonnelli

Give weatherford his props ,he's looking after the hard working people who can't afford to go to ur games. Mr. Ross put ur money where u want it. Marino , u should remember when u didn't have $. Tell Mr. Ross to pay for he's wants.


This deal was bad for Miami-Dade and our state. First, for Ross to say we are not going to get a Superbowl, Are you kidding me! The millions he spent on lobbing fees, T.V. ads, direct mail, Special elections, Travel and etc..was better used towards the renovation itself. And that whole bogus job fair to some how motivate people to vote yes. Ross has very little credibility with the community. And by the way, changing our logo was a disrespectful. We the Dolphin fans should have rejected it. Try and change the Boston Red Sox logo or the Green Packers. We have tradition also and you disrespected it.


Lots of misinformation above - locals will pay the bed tax, not just tourists. Ever eat in a hotel restaurant - your company hold a conference at a hotel - or someone you know have a wedding or other event at a hotel? All are charged the bed tax. And as for the 4,000 jobs - Ross said only that they hoped to generate that many jobs, they aspired to creating 4,000 jobs (most of them temporary for the construction) but what was the penalty for not creating them - NADA! And while the bed tax cannot, in its present form, be used for education, it can be used for certain forms of transportation -like it could fund the Bay Link between downtown Miami and Miami Beach. And did you know that Ross is trying to buy a huge part of Watson Island and is in negotiations to purchase U.S.Century Bank - can anyone say U.S.Century Stadium? As for the money brought in by a Super Bowl - don't let the corporate guys fool you - most of the money goes from one corporation to another. Sure the hotels make money, but do the workers get higher pay or even a bonus, same with restaurants and the list goes on and on. And what does it cost us to handle the traffic and the trash collection, etc. with the huge influx of people for the game - and they want the International Boat Show to change its date, when its been a loyal part of the South Florida economy for years. And lastly, don't forget its only the hotels on the mainland, not Miami Beach - they keep their money.


Barbie is totally right! Any of who live in Miami-Dade who enjoys our hotels would have to pay the tax as well. And why has Broward been excluded from this, they to enjoy in the fruits of having super-bowls and events at the stadium. The construction jobs is a farce, they pay off the local minority GC to say they local vendors and then hire outside firms.
As far as the argument that bed tax can only be used for this, that true BUT, one thing I do know is that laws can be changed. Changed the law to say that bed tax can be utilized for issues of need.

Jai W

1% people! We are talking a 1% tax! For as often as I happen to use a hotel in the Miami area... which is rare... I would barely even feel a 1% tax. And for what it would be helping... I wouldn't mind paying it either. Just my sole opinion.


At the end of the day, after all the silly arguments (some above), the reality is this ...

If the return on investment for the community and for the owner was so certain and so great, the owner would put his own money into it, or easily raise the investment funds from the private market.

Whenever some money boy comes begging for taxpayer money, the only proper conclusion is that the deal is not good enough for private investors to put their own money into.


The people who are saying good for Weatherford, and that he is looking out for the people, are lost. Anyone who thinks that the politicians are looking out for anything other than their own interest is a moron. At least the stadium would have served our interest in South Florida.


Finally the Florida Legislature does something right. The owner of the team, and the NFL, have plenty of money for whatever stadium modifications they want. Let them dip into their own pockets.


How much more would it cost taxpayers if we were trying to attract an NFL fancshise to S. Florida or any other major business? Hope that some other city doesn't make it more attractive to leave for a more hospitable business environment. It would be a darn shame to lose one of Miami's most recognizable institutions because of political and economic shortsightedness.

Bill Clay

The Dolphins have been a lousy team for years. I couldn't care less if they packed up and left town tomorrow.


go heat


Where were you when Norman Braman got his corporate welfare for his car dealerships? What good paying jobs did that create? Most of you are so jealous of Ross it is almost laughable...but it was ok for Braman? Walgreens? walmart? CVS, Scripts, or any other business that locate or opens here gets a tax abatement or some time of deal.

Adolfo Costa

I congratulate Representative Will Weaterford. Thank you, very much for defending the taxpayers of Florida and the tourists who visit with us..We, in Dade County, are fed up with this use of tax money to help millioners to increse their profits through public funding with all kind of dubious plans to help the people.


Take that money and invest it in job-creating proposals. If you need money from the tax payers to pay reasonable salaries to the jocks and charge reasonable fees to enter the stadium to watch a game, I would be the first to agree. But not to waste millions of dollars on salaries to these likely-to-be-delinquents that often turn into gangsters, women abusers and drug consumers and pushers; a few exceptions, of course. Once the sport returns to serve the population at large (with reasonable gate fees) the citizens will be glad to pay for the stadium. In the meantime suck it. Tómate esta mientras te mondo la otra, as they say in Borinquen.


if you and I were to start a business would we get tax funded money $$ ?


Los Angeles Dolphins!

Get used to it.


Would people please stop repeating the Ross line that the improvements would be paid for by tourists and therefore it is not our money?
No matter what the source, once the money is collected, it is in our coffers and is, indeed, our money.
Then we decide what to do with it.
Practically speaking, the two questions are is the tax a good idea and then, once collected, what would we want to do with it?
Personally, I can think of better things than to fund the stadium/Ross.


I congratulate Representative Will Weatherford for doing what is necessary and proper and looking out for the people of Florida. Much has been said about the hotel bed tax; some on this forum say that it is not a big deal. Remember that the devil is in the details and in this case the Dolphins get hundreds of millions of dollars interest free. The team claims that they will pay back over 150 million in 30 years but at zero interest rate. If you calculate 190 million for 30 years at an interest rate of 4% you get a tab of over 400 million. In essense, the tax payers of Miami would lose hundreds of millions in possible interest payments. In addition, we have had 10 super bowls in Miami. Yes it is a big event but it doesn't make or break our tourist industry. In fact, did you know that some of the hotel bed book tax is used on advertising in Europe, Canada, Australia, etc; promoting South Florida. And that is why South Beach is full year round with tourist from France, England, Italy, Russia, Germany, etc. That is real economic development, not a one day event like the Super Bowl.


Folks, you are all missing the point. You, the electorate, are stupid, which is part of the problem. You all keep electing politicians that are idiots. Therefore, what you fail to realize, is that YOUR politicians will waste the tourism dollars on other stuff aside from a stadium. So, why not waste it on a stadium?????? At least you can go to a Dolphins game in a beautiful new stadium and attract Super Bowls where millions of dollars of cash are pumped into the local economy. I spend $30K a year to put my kids in private schools because the Miami-Dade Education System is horrendous. The roads here are overcrowded and full of potholes. The politicians are crooked. WE are building, with public dollars, an art museum that nobody will go to and has no art endowment. And, a science museum that nobody will go to. Get a grip? So, do you honestly think there is any chance that, the bed tax dollars (if not spent on a stadium), have any possible chance of being spent properly in Miami-Dade County?????? Sheesh. Put smart and ethical politicians in office, and not political cronies. It's all your fault!!!! Stop just voting for people because their father or mother was in office for 30 years stealing from us. Stop voting for people because their ancestry is from a certain country, whatever it may be. Elect real leaders. We need a Chris Christie or a Corey Booker down here that speaks the truth and fights for political correctness. THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!!! BUILD THE STADIUM. YOUR MONEY WILL BE WASTED ANYWAYS!!!!!


EL - I hate to call you out, but you are wrong. Once the money is collected, we can not use it however we want. It can only be used for tourism related items, including convention centers and sports venues. Bed tax can not go towards education, police, fire, etc. The law would have to be changed on the state level and that is a whole other argument.


Hey Fred...

$30,000 a year on education when or if your child goes to college there are going to be a lot of public school kids in the same college classroom. You sound like you are really smart with your money. Go back to mowing Stephen Ross' lawn.


if you and I were to start a business would we get tax funded money $$ ?

Posted by: mauricio | May 04, 2013 at 08:56 AM


The 2013 New Orleans Super Bowl Host Committee released the results of an economic impact study designed and conducted by the University of New Orleans, finding that Super Bowl XLVII produced a $480 million net impact for the region.
-- neworleanssaints.com

would your start-up attract the world's biggest sporting event ...



How much of that "region" was directly affecting the owner of the Saints?


I congratulate Representative Will Weatherford for doing what is necessary and proper and looking out for the people of Florida.

Posted by: Educator | May 04, 2013 at 09:09 AM



Dumb move? I am glad these guys didnt make a decision based on their political future. I wont get into how much the Dolphins overstate the value of Super Bowls, ill just say all these guys have my vote next election.


ill just say all these guys have my vote next election.

Posted by: Mike | May 04, 2013 at 11:02 AM

the next election was slated for may 14 ...
could've voted yea or nay ...
opposing democracy only when it suits you ...



I am certain this decision will follow Speaker Weatherford for many years to come.
-- stephen ross



Will Weatherford is used to other people in his family getting the limelight.

While he had his own career as a college athlete, his younger brother, Drew Weatherford, gained attention as a starting quarterback for the Florida State University Seminoles.
-- heraldtribune.com



Put the money towards education Very tired

Posted by: J. D. Sheppard | May 03, 2013 at 08:14 PM

why should taxpayers fund your kid's education ...
very tired ...


Miami Guy

Victory for the people of Miami Dade County !!! Its good to know that Miami is located in Florida and Florida is a state of of the union .... Not a banana republic like Miami has been turned into. Remember the names of Jimenez and every local Miami commissioner and local state rep from Miami-Dade county .... They were ALL in bed with Ross to screw the people over AGAIN ..... Remember this on election day, people !!!

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