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Front Page » Top Stories » Marlins Ballpark Spending List Raises County Questions

Marlins Ballpark Spending List Raises County Questions

Written by on March 8, 2012

By Ashley Hopkins
The Miami Marlins say they’ve spent $38 million as part of their share of building their $515 million county-owned baseball stadium. County officials, however, say Miami-Dade will dispute payments that don’t fit the project’s purview.

So far, the team reports about $30 million for legal, consulting and architectural services as its biggest stadium expenditures.

Contracts that led to stadium construction provided that Miami-Dade was to put $347.5 million into construction, while the City of Miami was to provide $13.5 million plus the parking.

The Marlins were to pay the rest through a combination of their annual stadium rent payments, starting at $2.3 million per year and rising 3% annually, plus any team expenditures that contributed to development of the stadium. It is those team expenditures that the county will audit to be certain that they contributed directly to the stadium’s development..

The Marlins’ original share was to be $154 million for construction and $1 million for the design of public infrastructure. However, the county’s 2009 bond sale fell $6.2 million short and the Marlins agreed to cover the shortfall, reducing the county share to $341.3 million and raising the Marlins’ to $160.2 million.

Beyond their annual payments and out-of-pocket expenses, the team agreed to pay $750,000 a year into the capital reserve fund once the stadium is complete, said Jose Galan, program legislation chief for the county’s Internal Services Department.

According to Mr. Galan, the Marlins are to put $125.2 million into the project, plus $35 million the county is advancing them at no interest, bringing the team’s total contribution to $160.2 million.

As the April 4 opening day nears, the county has spent about $25 million of the $35 million it got for the Marlins’ ballpark share from bonds the county issued in 2011 to cover hard project costs, including construction and consulting expenses, Mr. Galan said.

Mr. Galan noted that ballpark agreements were structured so that most of the Marlins’ funds would be expended after the county and city’s shares.

In the Marlins’ 14-page listing of that $38 million share of the Little Havana ballpark’s cost they’ve provided top the county, larger figures are:

•More than $15.253 million to HOK Sports Facilities, the ballpark’s architect.

•More than $13.706 million to Populous, the team’s architect of record, composed of former HOK representatives following the company’s split.

•More than $2.740 million to the Owners Perspective, the Marlins’ outside consulting group, for professional representation through the construction contract.

Consultants with the Owners Perspective received travel, lodging, rental vehicle and salary allowances for their work on the deal. Accommodation allowances ranged from $2,500 to $5,000.

•About $914,001 to Proskauer Rose, an international firm specializing in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, for legal services related to ballpark contracts.

•About $840,214 to Holland & Knight for legal services related to the ballpark’s master use special permit.

•About $725,193 to Project Management Consultants for legal services related to insurance and general contract conditions.

•About $650,000 to Sports & the Arts, which is collaborating with the Marlins on an art, photography and graphics package at the ballpark.

•About $323,608 to S20 Consultants, market development representatives, for services related to the ballpark’s concession areas.

•About $264,784 to AEI Affiliated Engineers for engineering and construction services.

•About $259,059 to A2 Group Inc., a Miami-based engineering and construction management organization, for construction management services at the ballpark’s marketing center.

Among smaller expenditures the team counted is its share of ballpark construction, Comcast received $2,037 for cable TV and internet services at the team’s sales headquarters, an off-site location for ballpark marketing; L2L Digital Printing received $3,583 for aerial shots and prints of the ballpark; and Flora E. Montoya received $26,870 for cleaning the sales headquarters.

The team spent $897 on office supplies at Office Depot and $8,997 on office supplies at Direct Office Supplies.

Match Up Promotions, a promotional product and branded apparel company, received $10,980 in alcohol spending, an expense that Mr. Galan said the county intends to challenge.

As the team would finance the ballpark’s capital reserve fund should the project come in under budget, the team is in the process of closing out bid packages on the project, Mr. Galan said. Potential claims by prime contractors will determine the amount that can go into the stadium’s capital reserve.

Since the team will be responsible for overruns, the county continues to review and verify the funds the team lists as having been spent for the project, Mr. Galan said. The county, he said, will then dispute any charges that it feels should not be included in the project’s costs.

The county’s share of the ballpark, meanwhile, was financed primarily with three major bond issues that together will require principal and interest payments totaling more than $2.5 billion over the next three decades.

City of Miami costs, including stadium parking bond costs, are not included in that total, nor is public spending on public infrastructure or the value of the city land, the former Orange Bowl site.