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FBI opens SEC Probe of Miami Marlins Ballpark Deal

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 FBI opens SEC Probe of Miami Marlins Ballpark Deal
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Federal authorities began investigating the Miami Marlins ballpark stadium deal on Thursday, according to the Miami Herald.

The US.Securities and Exchange Commission requested information from Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami about $500 million in bond sales and records of campaign contributions, according to the Herald.

The SEC also wants meeting minutes and finances dating back to 2007, including meetings between Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, team president David Samson, former Major League Baseball president chief operating officer Robert Dupuy and the government, according to the Herald.

"Yes, we are aware of the investigation that the SEC is conducting on the issuance of the county's and city's stadium and parking bonds. Of course we will fully cooperate with the SEC's investigation as needed and a.ssist in whatever way possible. Because this is an on-going matter, it is not appropriate to comment further," the Miami Marlins said in an email statement Saturday.

The county also says it will cooperate.

"The county will comply with the SEC's request and provide the documents they are asking for," said Suzy Trutie, Miami-Dade County spokeswoman.

The county and the city were responsible for 80 percent of the $634 million construction project., the newspaper said.

"We are trying to determine whether there have been any violations of the federal securities laws. The investigation and the subpoena do not mean that we have concluded that Miami-Dade County or anyone else has broken the law," Drew D. Panahi, the commission's senior counsel, told the Herald.

Marlins President David Samson had told the Herald the team hasn't received a subpoena, but he told the newspaper "Appreciate the info."

But the city officials are concerned with the cost of the review. In 2006, a similar two year long review cost it $1.4 million, according to the Herald.


"I am obviously disappointed. Any time there is an investigation like this it is expensive. But these transactions predate me," Commissioner Francis Suarez said. "We are trying to keep the city afloat in difficult times and it's hard when unanticipated situations arise."

The SEC is also looking into the stadium parking garages. Officials have said they have to pay as much as $2 million in property taxes to the county beacuse they are leasing the stadium's individual parking spots in the garage to the Marlins.

Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

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David Samson is going to end up hanging himself.
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