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Front Page » Top Stories » Miami Argues Bramans Motion Essentially Requests A New Trial That Estimates On Parking Facility Costs Would Not Change Ruling

Miami Argues Bramans Motion Essentially Requests A New Trial That Estimates On Parking Facility Costs Would Not Change Ruling

Written by on November 20, 2008

By Risa Polansky
Civic leader Norman Braman’s motion to seek new evidence from the City of Miami in his fight against a publicly funded Marlins ballpark essentially requests a new trial and should be denied, says a response city attorneys sent to the Braman team Tuesday.

Mr. Braman’s court motion this month asked permission to question the city for financial details on garage parking proposed for the stadium site.

The city had estimates that a garage could cost tens of millions more than officials said in court but never made it known, the Braman motion says.

The city in response acknowledges Mr. Braman has not asked for a new trial but says "the only relief the discovery would be relevant to is to try and obtain a new trial."

It argues that Mr. Braman’s motion does not meet state requirements to re-open the case.

Examining parking cost estimates would not change the original ruling against Mr. Braman, the response says.

In deciding that the stadium serves a paramount public purpose, Judge Jeri Beth Cohen acknowledged that the stadium agreement between the city, team and Miami-Dade County says Marlins parking payments are to generate $200 million for the city over the life of the lease.

The city’s response says the judge’s order "is clear that the general benefits apart from the cost of the parking garage were substantial. The only reference by the court to this issue correctly states the fact that the revenues generated by this parking facility would be massive over the course of the [stadium] agreement."

In October 2007 the Miami Parking Authority projected a garage could cost $150 million — the city continues to use $94 million — and lose $8 million a year on operations for the agreement’s 35 years.

The Braman motion said that was not made known in trial.

But those numbers were projected before the governments and team made an official agreement, which contains different figures than the parking authority used, the city’s response says.

"If these numbers were included, the projections would be dramatically altered."

A report by consultant Jones Lang LaSalle that estimated 6,000 garage spots could cost $135 million was submitted to the city after discovery was completed and four days before the trial was to begin. It was never referenced during trial, but Florida law doesn’t require a party to "supplement" information provided prior, the city says.

The response adds that while Mr. Braman’s attorneys "challenged every aspect of the costs of the stadium itself for the purpose of establishing that the stadium did not qualify as a paramount public purpose to Miami-Dade County, when they deposed the city representative (CFO Larry Spring) with the most knowledge of the parking costs and revenues they asked essentially no questions of the witness regarding the parking garage revenues or cost estimates."

Also, an exhibit the city provided shows a garage could cost up to $104 million, but the Braman team never took issue with that higher estimate during the trial, the city says.

The response asserts that the Braman team is trying "to elevate parking garage estimates to a level of importance that they never did up through trial."