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Miami Heat brings Alonzo Mourning to county commission to push for extension of arena lease


Trophy 12 One PABFormer Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning turned heads Tuesday when we walked into the Miami-Dade commission chambers, carrying the NBA's Larry O'Brien championship trophy.

Giddy commissioners applauded. Clerk of Courts Harvey Ruvin jumped up and gestured to the audience to join in a standing ovation. The crowd complied.

But the real reason for Mourning's visit wasn't to gloat about the Heat's victory. It was a thinly veiled push to publicly urge the county to extend the basketball team's lease at AmericanAirlines Arena.

"We look forward to 25 more celebratory years of success," Mourning said.

He didn't mention the lease. Instead, he played a video that touted the team's history in downtown Miami.

Miami-Dade provides a $6.4 million annual subsidy to the arena under the current deal, which runs through 2029. The payments were in exchange for the Heat building and financing the $360 million facility on county land. The agreement includes a profit-sharing formula that has yet to result in a dime for the county.

The Heat, capitalizing on the team's back-to-back championships, wants to extend the deal another 15 years -- and to receive more public money, citing renovations for the 13-year-old arena.

County administrators had said they were in no rush to renegotiate the deal. But commissioners on Tuesday encouraged Mayor Carlos Gimenez's administration to move quickly.

"We're committed to keeping the Heat here in the long term," Gimenez said. "Hopefully we can bring that to some kind of fruition."

Trophy 02 Three PAB
Photos by Peter Andrew Bosch, Miami Herald staff.


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The heat nation


Ed Jenkins

These sports teams and billionaire owners haven't learned yet. Pay for it yourself, we are not going to spend the money of our heavily indebted city with its low debt rating to pay for you to make more money.


The heat nation, you sound real enthusiastic, more bitter if you ask me. I for one hope the county renews this extension deal, and if not, then the mayor in office can no longer complain about slow economic recovery, especially for Downtown Miami. The Miami Heat are an economic engine to this entire city and county. Just because the Marlins deal went bad, now the other teams in Miami have to drink the poison all the sudden. I for one supported the Dolphins stadium renovation.


Ed Jenkins, there is a reason why the city is in so much debt. Oh, that's right, your elected leaders don't care. Next time vote for Democratic candidates.


All those law degrees,and accounting degrees downtown, but I guess nobody can do simple math. The current contract has to yeild a profit, because the city officals too busy getting floor seats , and rubbing elbows with Riley, and others to notice . Do the citizens of Miami a favor ,PAY WHAT YOU OWE !!!!!!! We buy the Heat gear ( #1 selling jersey in the NBA) , we buy the game tickets, the least you can do is pay us -----


Pay us like you want to be here another 15 yrs-- how about that ????????????


We are the COUNTY!!!!! Just look at the revenue that Miami businesses bring in due to us having a high profile team like the Heat. To say the county has not recieved a dime is very misleading. Increased revenue to businesses means increased tax revenue which makes it way back to the county. Wake up Miami! Renew the lease and lets keep reaping the profits.

Rhonda V. Sibilia

Your story is accurate ("thinly veiled"), but the caption under the photo in both the print and web editions is incorrect. It states, "Mourning came to urge the county to extent the Heat's lease at American Airlines Arena," when he did no such thing.

Honest in Miami-Dade County

The owners of the Miami Heat have never paid a penny of rent to Miami-Dade County which owns the waterfront site used for the AAA Arena. The Heat should show good faith and start paying rent.


Only when fans boycott the team by not buying tickets for their games will super wealthy sports team owners and multi-millionaire professional athletes start giving a damn about what the public has to say.

John Beatty

Here's the truth about alonzo - when this arena opened the food & beverage workers at the old arena were not allowed to work there because they were union - ofcourse the players kept their union contracts - the workers went to alonzo - and met with his assistant at his offices - he refused to meet with them and did nothing to help them - Levy (the F & B contractor) then paid off the union head (Andy Matdes - a NY crook) and all the Liberty City workers lost their jobs - today the F & B workers are abused, get no health care, have their credit card tips stolen by management and are fired if they complain about it.

Roro Kewule

bend over taxpayers, you're about to get it from behind. What happened to the promised revenue sharing by the Heat that never happened, what happened to the public playing fields that were supposed to be constructed east of the arena, what happened to the pedestrian overpass to Bayside the Heat was supposed to build? DO NOT TRUST these schemers and scammers, and inept County administrators.

steve hagen

The previous poster Kewule has it right......
The day before the vote which City Residents had to do to tranfer the City owned land to the County so they could lease it to the Heat, the Herald ran a front page photo showing a Green Space or play field on Parcel B. Miami voters voted for it because they
saw a patch of green on the wster.

IT IS TOTALLY DISGUSTING THAT THE COUNTY COMMISSION HAS NOT MADE PARCEL B OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Behind the scenes there is talk to put another fricking museum there......The inward looking Arena and museums do not belong on the waterfront.....Our leaders are crazy!!!!

It is time for the HEAT to start paying the County 6 Million or more a year for the land.....The County needs to stop their petty quarles with the City and use the money to improve and activate the Miami waterfront as the waterftont is the biggest economic generator than any one enity. What do we do, we turn our backs on the water and fill it with inward looking buildings.

Steve Hagen
Have you signed the petition;
More Parks for Miami NOW www.ipetitions.com/petition/MoreParksForMiamiNOW

Also join the Facebook Group:
Keep informed on how Miami leadership is treating parks and public land.
Presently, they are giving it away!!!
The Group shows you how to help protect and expand Miami parks.

Since 2002 I and many others have appeared at many Commission meetings, have lobbied Mayors and Commissioners and have otherwise attempted to educate Miami leaders as to Miami park deficiencies and ways to increase parks, with little success.. During this time, Miami has added over 50,000 new residents, with no new park land while using existing parks as places to place museums and other buildings

Please take a stand for parks by signing the above petition and joining the FB Group.

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