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Two Miami-Dade commissioners met with Genting executives in Asia

@PatriciaMazzei

Miami-Dade Commission Vice-Chairwoman Lynda Bell and Commissioner Audrey Edmonson were conspicuously absent from a high-profile April meeting setting a referendum for the Miami Dolphins.

They were traveling in Asia.

Edmonson and Bell were part of a 14-member delegation from PortMiami and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce that visited Singapore and Hong Kong as part of a nine-day trip -- planned weeks before the Dolphins meeting was scheduled -- to drum up business for the county.

Included in their Singapore itinerary was a briefing with Resorts World Sentosa and a dinner with Resorts World Miami. Both companies are linked to Genting, the Malaysian casino giant who has purchased the former Miami Herald building and other downtown Miami properties.

Other stops: a tour of the Port of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, meetings with economic development boards and chambers of commerce and sit-downs with cargo companies.

The estimated cost to taxpayers: nearly $13,000, according to travel request forms both commissioners submitted to the county before departing. In addition to Edmonson and Bell, Bell's chief of staff, Eddie Borrego, also made the trip.

Bell, as chairwoman of the commission's economic development and PortMiami committee, was particularly interested in meeting with cargo companies that generate significant port revenue and that Miami is wooing to try to keep here and to grow their presence, her office said. Negotiations with Genting are ongoing for potential ferry services from the port.

The final total won't be finalized until the county reimburses the commissioners for all of their expenses.

Comments

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James Linder

I'm glad that my Miami-Dade representatives are traveling to other business locations to learn how other systems operate. I support these Chamber of Commerce supported trips.

Sara Regal

Who cares. It was a waste of my time to have had to read through this garbage. This is why I won't pay to get through the Miami Herald firewall that allows me to read their terrible stories.

Judy Lassiter

I hope the lady commissioners were luckier than the citizens of Miami-Dade were when the Genting Resort complex was rejected due to the fat cat influence of Disney and the Seminoles. that one project could of brought tens of thousands of new, good jobs to Miami and fed the economic recovery of South Florida and the state alike. Bell and Edmundson should use their influence to get the government on board with a solid gambling reform in Florida that lets in professional management and draws tourists instead of letting the Indians keep all the money and Mickey Mouse quaking in his boots in fear of any tourist competition!

Richard Knox

I know some will chide this junket but they shouldn't. The revitalization of the old Herald Building and Omni complex is still very much a deal in play. Yes, it's a shame it didn't happen last year but better late than never. I know Audrey to be honest and hard working. She doesn't need my encouragement to forge a good plan with the developers that will bring in the jobs we need and attract foreign tourism from places that are not suffering from depression like Singapore and Brazil.

Juan Hung

I think the politicians are getting the memo after Las Vegas welcomed Genting with open arms and the success Genting has had in New York and elsewhere. Florida has gambling everywhere but world class operators like Genting know how to do it right and by that I mean the communities where they place their resorts thrive. The Hard Rock is not taxed in the traditional sense and Florida is cheated out of millions upon millions per year. The Malaysians will level the playing field paying their fare share of taxes while bringing in boatloads of tourists our state would not normally attract. It's a win-win scenario.

Dale Brooks

As a Miami resident I supported the building of a resort casino at the Miami Herald site. Now the commissioners go to Singapore to drum up business with Genting in what amounts to a huge missed opportunity. We should be in the first stages of construction of a casino which would have been bringing in jobs and money into the city already. But no, there is no revenue in sight which Genting’s world-class resort casino would have guaranteed, nor are there the thousands of jobs for operation and maintenance. Why couldn’t the politicians see the need to approve Genting’s casino here when they had the opportunity?

Bon Rendell

Walt Disney regularly brings Florida politicians to their resort to influence them with freebies - under the cloak of "In-kind" services. Why doesn't anyone write about that? BECAUSE DISNEY CONTROLS FLORIDA MEDIA.

Marla Torres

Genting’s Resort World Casino would have brought the tax revenue, jobs and tourist dollars that Miami still desperately needs. The politicians who were paid off by Disney and the Seminoles and intimidated by Norman Braman refused to legalize a destination resort casino in Miami. But they allow tribal-owned casinos to flourish and pay an extraordinarily low tax -- NOT helping to alleviate our money problems. This trip to Singapore shows that the Miami-Dade Commission is waking up to the fact that Miami needs Genting’s business. Didn’t they know this whey they had the chance to support approval of the casino?

Kathy Smith

Hope they were discussing ways of bring Resort World Casino to fruition in the future. The failure to legalize casino gaming in Florida was a failure to Florida taxpayers.

Don Turner

What is the status of the Resorts World complex? Last I heard it was going to be a very much scaled down version of the original. When I first saw the architectural renderings they literally took my breath away. If Miami-Dade can bring that back it would be a great thing for everybody.

SC Butler

A casino on the Miami waterfront is the only way to solve the Miami tax problems. Other business ventures, while welcomed in the area, do not have anywhere near the ability to generate the tax revenues that a Casino Resort can. We missed the opportunity to build a casino. Genting would have generated billions in tax dollars.

Candice Alphonse

Miami missed out on a great opportunity to build Resorts World which would have brought a tremendous amount of commerce to a blighted area. Agents that blocked that development were charged up with big bucks from Disney (Florida Chamber) and the Seminoles (No Casinos, Dade Heritage Trust) which did everything in their power to dissuade creating what would have been a spectacular addition to South Florida. I wish I could partake in a grass-roots effort to boycott Disney and the Hard Rock among others who denied us the economic recovery we could be enjoying right now.

Jose Sanchez

Was City of Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff also sitting down with Genting? I know he went to Asia with his wife paid for by a Chinese company. Is there a connection?

Juanita Feenis

There remain enemies to progress still lurking just like the face eating troll at the historic Herald
Building. Even sitting commissioners need to hold their cards close to their vests just to expedite a
project which will bring prosperity to large numbers of Floridians. Get the Resorts project going and
get us on the road to recovery now!

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