The Miami Dolphins and their owner, Stephen Ross, spent a staggering $10 million over the past six weeks on a special election that never happened.
Leading up to a planned May 14 referendum asking voters to help pay for renovations of Sun Life Stadium, the Dolphins’ political action committee, Friends of Miami First, raised $4.97 million and spent $4.49 million since April 1, according to a campaign finance report filed Friday. All contributions came from the Dolphins and Ross, through South Florida Stadium LLC, the corporate entity that owns the stadium.
Taken together with the nonrefundable $4.8 million payment the Dolphins made to Miami-Dade County last month to cover election costs, the team spent nearly $10 million in publicly reported funds on its failed push for state and county tax dollars to pay for some of the $350 million in stadium upgrades.
That total does not include expenses that do not have to be reported because they were not part of the election campaign, including lobbyist and public-relations consultant fees incurred before county commissioners agreed to hold the referendum.
Even without the cost to cover the election, the Dolphins’ sprint of a campaign ranks among the most expensive waged in Miami-Dade. A successful, months-long effort to approve Las Vegas-style slots in 2008 spent more than $6.6 million.
“We were committed to making sure voters had all the information necessary before they cast their votes, and that costs money,” campaign spokesman Eric Jotkoff said in an email Monday.