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Dolphins consider hiring former Miami-Dade mayor

@doug_hanks

The Miami Dolphins are in talks to hire former Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas to head up outreach efforts as owner Stephen Ross plots another try at a tax-funded stadium deal.

Several sources familiar with the Penelas talks said the deal has not been finalized. They describe a senior position that would put the former Miami-Dade County mayor at the center of political, government and community matters facing the NFL franchise. One source said the stadium push would be just one part of Penelas’ portfolio, which would focus on the team’s overall strategy when it comes to government relations and public outreach.

The Dolphins and Penelas declined to comment on Tuesday. But a league source said Penelas has had at least one promising meeting with new Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel. “Tom has met with him, enjoyed that meeting and is developing a relationship with him,” the source said.

The potential hiring offers the latest sign that Ross still sees a stadium deal in his future, and indicates how the New York-based billionaire might handle the politics and public relations this time. Last year’s failed effort featured then-CEO Mike Dee, a relative newcomer to South Florida, as the public face of the campaign. Penelas was hired as a consultant for that effort, but did not have a large public role.

Dee left in July after failing to win approval of state and local subsidies for a $350 million renovation. The plan died in the Florida House. Ross is pumping campaign dollars to unseat three Miami Republicans who led the fight against the Dolphins’ plan in Tallahassee: Jose Felix Diaz, Carlos Trujillo and Michael Bileca.

More here.

Comments

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Ed Jenkins

Ross is doing everything to turn off long time loyal Dolphin fans like myself. He wants us to pay for his stadium improvements that will increase his profits. Now he is considering hiring this corrupt politician to help him get his way, all of Miami wishes at this point he would just sell the team and go away. If he hadn't been such a fool and overpaid for the team and become the latest guy to be ripped off by Huizenga, he would not have to increase his revenue so much to cover his high interest costs that resulted from his high purchase price.

Garl

I have no problem with Ross coming to the legislature; the fact that he is a wealthy man should have no bearing whatsoever. However, hiring a PR man to push this through the legislature is ridiculous, at best. Penelas could possibly help with the Miami media, which blasted Ross from the beginning, but he has no standing whatsoever to lobby in Tallahassee. Better look elsewhere, Mr. Ross, as the problem lies in Miami, not in Tallahassee.

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