Friday July 11, 2008

What's up with Norman Braman's lawsuit?

Quick recap: Norman Braman is suing the city of Miami to try to stop the “megaplan,” which includes the port tunnel, museum park, marlins stadium, and a couple of other multimillion projects. Most recently, a judge ordered the parties to try to work out their differences out of court.

Braman’s argument, that some of the money the city is planning to use for the plan is intended to fight “slum and blight,” is not without merit. But honestly, why does he care so much? Does anybody else suspect that maybe he’s doing this as a publicity stunt? Here’s a guy who’s name is very closely associated with his business — every time he gets it out in the news, it helps his bottom line. And to the extent that at least one element of the city’s plan is seen as wasteful/unnecessary/stupid by almost everyone, he’s ostensibly fighting a pretty popular fight. How does the cost of his legal fees compare to the cost of running a series of those tv ads? Is this a win for Braman regardless of which way the court case goes?

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  1. Steve    Fri Jul 11, 11:30 AM #  

    Why does he care so much? Perhaps because this is just one more instance of Miami politicians “stretching” the definition whether it is the sales tax for transit being mis-spent, the bogus zoning changes ala Mercy Hospital Perez towers, the crazy expansions of the urban boundary into the Everglades for no reason, and the list goes on and on.

    I for one am in favor of the Marlin’s stadium deal but I agree with Braman that it is illegal to use THAT money for it. The people of places like Overtown deserve better and Miami deserves better.

    Maybe Braman’s standing up is just because Miami has finally found an advocate with the resources to stand up to the crazy elected official status quo in Miami. Maybe Braman has political aspirations—I hope so.

  2. tito    Fri Jul 11, 11:57 AM #  

    I actually agree with Braman, just on the principal that the City officials do to much that goes un-checked.
    My big problem is that this “Mega Plan” is too much combined into one package…. I am against the Tunnel and Stadium, but for the Museum, so do I have to approve of the whole plan to get the Museum? That Sucks!

  3. billermo    Fri Jul 11, 12:12 PM #  

    you may say that this blog is dead, but i can’t move myself to remove it off my rss.

  4. alesh    Fri Jul 11, 04:12 PM #  

    Ahh, see?: everyone agrees with him, making him popular. Yeah, maybe it’s not a form of commercial advertising. Maybe it’s a springboard for a political office run.

    billermo~ move along, nothing to see here :)

  5. Alex    Fri Jul 11, 11:37 PM #  

    He’s been at these crusades for a while. I don’t think he’s that cynical. For one thing, he’s got a virtual monopoly on the cars he sells —if you want a Rolls or Bentley you pretty much have to deal with him (and that crowd is unbowed by populism), even if you want a Mini or BMW and don’t want to travel to the hinterlands.

    I don’t think he wants to run for office either, He’s 75. He would have done it before.

    No, I think he’s as advertised. A gadfly with money. I’m cheering him on this time.

  6. Carlos Miller    Sat Jul 12, 01:05 AM #  

    It’s all about his legacy. Who wants to go down in history as just a car salesman?

  7. WS    Sat Jul 12, 10:10 AM #  

    Isn’t there a huge mass transit system tied in with the mega plan? Doesn’t that provide conflict for a auto dealer and possibly take money out of his pocket long term? Mass Transit taking off in Miami means less business for this guy, no?

  8. Tere B    Mon Jul 14, 03:05 PM #  

    Kudos to Mr. Braman, City Hall is getting away with wasting our money again. Who is really going to rake the benefit of trillions of dollars out there just for grabs. It is alot of money and there are other priorities such as education, transportation, and teachers wages, affordable housing etc that need urgent attention. Give the Marlins a stadium at tax payers expense during a time of crisis? Let them build their own same as alot of other teams have done. I believe Mr. Braman is doing the right thing.

  9. Momoko Sudo    Mon Jul 14, 09:59 PM #  

    I thought you retired from this blog…

  10. Frank Mendez.    Tue Jul 15, 06:31 PM #  

    Mr.Braman,thank you very much to use your money to defend my interests.I am a Miami Dade County citizen and I am really tired of these political representatives also,to see how in many cases,our money keeps the wrong way.My support to you 100 % and thank you again.Sincerely,Frank.

  11. ABL    Wed Jul 16, 12:24 PM #  

    Mr. Braman is doing a great job trying to help the city. Some people don’t know how to appreciate his concerns, but those who do are very kind. I know him personally and it’s very nice what he’s doing for Miami.

  12. ejdaking    Wed Jul 16, 01:57 PM #  

    We are having a similar problem with a project in the Pensacola area with an Independent League privately owned team. Thanks for Mr. Braman’s initiative. They couldn’t use the CRA money due to the Florida Supreme Court ruling, but they are trying to use from the city’s general fund and payback with CRA money. It’s just another shell game.

  13. lilegend    Wed Jul 16, 02:37 PM #  

    Funny how everyone is complaining about using tax payers money to fund the project when 1, if you have actually kept up with the case it will be tourist tax money that’s used not yours and 2, your tax money is actually going towards this case, so I say now who is really wasting tax payer money? Braman didn’t think about that one did he….who do you think pays for the courtroom to stay open and have electricity etc…you the tax payer. So before you say the city is using the money improperly and that money should go to the poor, Bramnan is the real one using up citizens tax money….

  14. Keith    Wed Jul 16, 10:45 PM #  

    If I was 75 years old I would be spending more time with my family and enjoying the wonders of life. I wouldn’t be in a court room fighting the fight. I would out in the sun enjoying a baseball game. Life is short. I don’t appreciate what Norman Braman is doing. Not one bit. That giant construction Mega Plan would of helped the economy big time by having thousands of construction jobs.

  15. janet    Thu Jul 17, 09:06 AM #  

    I stand up an applaud you!!!! FINALLY someone has the _ _ _ _ _ & money to stand up to Miami politicians , crooks is more like it.
    I wish I could testify at the trial and tell them that we voted ANGAINIST the building of the staduim with public money…. What didn’t they understand about that. I am personaly feed up with all the this from Miami politians making their friends rich with our money.

    We need to ALL stand up and say enough. Thank you , thank you Mr. Braman.

  16. Gabe    Thu Jul 17, 04:58 PM #  

    Saw this earlier today. It completely changed how I feel about Señor Braman. Go away old man and think before you act.

  17. sdlk    Fri Jul 18, 01:16 AM #  

    Braman is courageous and trying to do the right thing. I know those traits are difficult to find in people these days, so I’m not surprised at the cynicism of writers on this blog like “Gabe”, “Keith” and “Carlos Miller”. They don’t know a true hero when they see it. Braman is standing up for the rights of taxpayers, no matter where the tax actually comes from. Tourist tax dollars could be used for local under-funded necessities rather than luxuries. I am impressed by Mr. Braman and hope that he can take this to the Supreme Court if he has to. While our politicians continue to underfund badly needed public services, they still are handed a ballpark on a silver platter. Thank you Mr. Braman for doing something that most intellegent people cannot afford to do: Fight City Hall!!!

  18. Chew    Fri Jul 18, 08:08 AM #  

    You guys have to be just plain ignorant to thing that Braman is doing this for the right reasons. There’s a reason people like him are where they are: they don’t give a crap about anyone but themselves! Maybe we’ll get lucky and he’ll die before he wastes more of my tax dollars on this frivolous lawsuit!

  19. Gabe    Fri Jul 18, 12:07 PM #  

    What kind of “courage” does it take to spend less than 1% of your net worth on a frivolous lawsuit to gain public notoriety? Why doesn’t Braman take a risk and invest his money in a meaningful private program/project to better South Florida?

  20. Cristobal    Mon Jul 21, 10:38 AM #  


  21. alesh    Mon Jul 21, 11:15 AM #  


    Your article is mostly correct, but you gloss over one important detail: the central claim of Braman’s lawsuit DOES have merit.

    It pertains to the CRA funds, which yes, are intended for the “improvement of the redevelopment districts.” But more specifically, CRA’s are intended to fight “slum and blight.”

    Granted, their function has been expanded beyond that in many areas, but more and more this is being questioned, and Braman’s lawsuit is part of that trend.

  22. lou    Tue Jul 22, 04:20 PM #  

    Those of you who think Braman is just a car salesman…check out his biographical history before making incorrect statements, why don’t you? As for the claim that it’s the taxpayers’ money that keep the courtrooms open during his trial…guess what? They HAVE to be open anyway, whether or not Braman’s suit is going on. It’s not like Braman’s single-handedly forcing the courthouse to use electricity…other things actually go on there. So your (and my) money is going to get used regardless.

    And, really, how much money do you think the Overtown area is really going to see? Take downtown,for examlpe…yeah, we have the Performing Arts Center, Bicentennial, and Bayront Park there, but do YOU still want to walk around by yourself at night? I don’t think so. So why is it so hard for some of you to understand that this new stadium will most likely NOT be helping the area that it’s in? That maybe the people pushing for it have a hidden agenda? Think for yourselves for a change. And do some research before posting your inane, biased comments.

  23. CAV    Tue Jul 22, 07:13 PM #  

    As WE can see here. The majority agrees that building a stadium is a BAD IDEA. Why are a few politicians (with a bad track record) making this decision? Miami is a joke as usual. The only way I get through the day is pretending that Miami is just a whimsical farce. At least I can laugh about it.

  24. Jesus    Wed Jul 23, 01:49 PM #  


  25. JARROD RUIS    Wed Jul 23, 02:39 PM #  

    look I’ve been trying to keep up with Mr. i want to be on TV and push my dealership i think its wrong that this 1 guy takes it upon himself to represent all of us . me I’m for the mega plan i think its going to make more for more jobs and help out in this time of 4.89 for a gal of gas thank god i have a job, but a lot of my friends & family have been left job less due to lack of construction in Miami think of how many people will benefit from this. with the economy as bad as it is i think Mr.braman should just back off if he want to get so involved then he should run for office rather than just when its something that doesn’t work in his favor

  26. Jackz    Wed Jul 23, 03:43 PM #  

    The problem is the Braman isn’t representing US. He is in it for himelf. Fine if your a buisness man, bad if your county is trying to improve things.

    Take the CRA urban plan which is trying to make Watson island part of the Omni district and make that district bigger. Why? For the transportation issues – put a tunnel in to stop the traffic up Biscayne Blvd (Where many highrises along with people with mucho dinero (money) will be or are living).

    Also, add the street cars so that these people can get around well. Similar to Toronto where many people who live in Downtown do not need a CAR.

    A CAR. What does Braman sell? No, not Hondas, he also deals with Bentleys and all of the other expesive cars that people with six figure salaries could afford. You know, the people who would rather use the street cars in lew of getting their 100K+ cars scratched, bumped or stolen.

    If the Omni CRA works how the county wants it to, Braman will be directly affected as he has property down there and a car dealership which caters to people in a lower tax bracket. With our economic hardship, I understand he’s tying to get more bang for his buck but then, in his stupid suit, he should say so not claim that it’s “For the people.”

    and here are a few tid bits people should know.

    money for the ball park is NOT coming from OUR tax dollars or the $800 million for the projects. It’s coming from tourist tax dollars. Tourism tax dollars are NOT used to do any improvements to our schools or health care. That money solely goes into improving tourism.

    And did you know that $500 million of that money which is going to improvement issues CAN NOT be used for schools or health care? Funding for transportation improvements must be used by the city that they are given to for TRANSPORTATION. If not used, those funds would be relocated to other transportation related issues within the STATE; they wouldn’t even remain as funding for any improvements in Miami-Dade.

  27. john    Thu Jul 24, 02:50 PM #  

    So Norman Braman doesnt care about the people in Miami as some of you say, so if it happens one day that your wife has Cancer she will have a bigger change to survive thanks to the Braman Familie Foundation Cancer Centre where he donated 5 milion to!

    He gives to many other good projects but NO NO he doesnt care about the people of miami, i think the people that talk bad about him on this site are the people that suport the marlins or that have businesses that will benifit of the building, so who are the crooks here.

    I think he is trying to speak up for the people of Miami because he can and then some of you dont understand what he is doing, he likes to see a stadium in Miami but he doesnt like the way the money comes to it, what is wrong with that?

    I think Mr Braman is really trying to help, it is a shame people dont see it that way, they should be thankfull that somebody is standing up before it is to late and the money has already been spend!

  28. Biscayne Bystander    Thu Jul 24, 09:39 PM #  

    Fucking ridiculous that a dime of tax money would be spent on this stadium. And to those detractors that say: What about the Carnival Center? I say the performing Arts Center is not a legal monopoly like Major League Baseball. Their ability to operate on their own terms should be the only tax payer support they get.

    For whatever reason motivating Braman to fight these initiatives, GOOD FOR HIM. Our city has too many problems to push some bullshit like this stadium. Where’d the investing in mass transit infrastructure go?

    As a City, we need to prioritize our tax spending. Corporate welfare for legal anti-trust company’s is not a priority. Teachers should be at the top of the list not stadiums. Let the Marlins play at Mark Light Stadium for all I care.

    And Alesh, what the fuck man?! The Prodigal Blog Returns? Whatever it takes, just keep it going. Start a PayPal donation button and earn some coin to keep your motivation going. There’s only two blogs I care to read in this city, CM & Magic City Kitty. Don’t take CM away again.

  29. Rob Crowley    Sun Jul 27, 01:53 PM #  

    I am inclined to say – no matter how we get infrasructure built WE NEED IT. Including a Stadium. We need to be enticing to businesses from costly states like NY or California that want to expand into an exciting international city.
    Miami is a joke it ranks last in everything except bad service where it’s number 1.
    Why can’t this judge move this along? WE NEED THESE PROJECTS to get going. This city should be booming all over again. We need to be the Phoenix rising from the ashes and be the international world class city we need to be.
    Ok Braman I’ll vote but I am voting that we get this stadium done and I don’t care who pays for it. The tax revenue from parking, hotels, restaurant and stadium earnings will be more than enough for me.

    Stop wasting our time. Your too rich with too little time.
    Ps I’d like a GREAT deal on a 5 series 535-Auto with leather. (NOT PLEATHER)

  30. rubyferia    Mon Jul 28, 03:47 PM #  

    Mr. Bramman is still a tax payer and his concerns are as valid as any other citizen.
    we complaint about the city government not listening to us- at least we have someone who makes them listen. good for us at norman braman’s cost. how do you like that? I support his position it is the right thing to do and we should all be on his side on this one.

    you go Mr. Bramman- you can count on my support


  31. rubyferia    Mon Jul 28, 03:48 PM #  

    Mr. Braman is still a tax payer and his concerns are as valid as any other citizen.
    we complaint about the city government not listening to us- at least we have someone who makes them listen. good for us at norman braman’s cost. how do you like that? I support his position it is the right thing to do and we should all be on his side on this one.

    you go Mr. Braman- you can count on my support


  32. Biscayne Bystander    Fri Aug 1, 08:01 PM #  

    Mr. Braman is still a tax payer and his concerns are as valid as any other citizen.
    we complaint about the city government not listening to us- at least we have someone who makes them listen. good for us at norman braman’s cost. how do you like that? I support his position it is the right thing to do and we should all be on his side on this one.

    you go Mr. Braman- you can count on my support