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Blocked from taxpayer cash for Miami stadium, Steve Ross gives $200m. To UM. As in Michigan


Remember when Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wanted Miami-Dade taxpayers to spend as much as $289m on stadium upgrades, only to have the referendum essentially cancelled by the Legislature (background and analysis here, if you don't).

Well, since then, Ross hasn't done much to renovate the stadium on his own dime. But he has decided to give money away --$200 million -- to UM. And that's not the University of Miami, which actually plays in his stadium that he wanted the citizens of Miami-Dade to help finance. It's University of Michigan, his alma mater.

It's an interesting twist on a guy who called the stadium renovations his "gift" to Miami-Dade. But when it came time for giving, the stadium wasn't his priority in the end.

But it's not like Ross isn't spending extra money in Miami. He is. He is financing a political group that's sending out attack mailers against lawmakers who scuttled his stadium plans.

What a gift for Miami: more attack-mailer politics. Just what we need.

Update.... Here's a statement from Ross spokesman Eric Jotkoff

Steve Ross is proud to support his alma mater, as well as a long list of charities in Miami Dade and South Florida, and has pledged to give half of his estate to charity at the time of his death. That speaks volumes about the man on a person level.

The Dolphins and Sun Life Stadium are businesses that provides great economic benefit to the local community, and the stadium renovation would have generated more than 4,000 jobs and hundreds of millions in economic activity for local businesses and revenue for local and state government. As we have said from the start, a true partnership means everyone benefits and everyone contributes.  Ross was committed to paying 70 percent of the renovation project, plus penalties for failing to bring the big events that generate jobs at local hotels, restaurants and other small businesses. We believe that was and remains a very fair deal for local taxpayers, who would not have paid even one dime for the renovations since tourists would have paid the county’s share.