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Ex-Eagles owner: Dolphins stadium “welfare for a multi-billionaire”

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The former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles is one of the most outspoken critics of plans to use taxpayer dollars to renovate the Miami Dolphins’ stadium.

Norman Braman, an auto magnate who bought the Eagles from Leonard Tose in 1985 and sold the franchise to Jeffrey Lurie in 1994, lives in Miami and has ripped the Dolphins’ proposal to ask taxpayers to finance about half of the planned $400 million in renovations to Sun Life Stadium.

This is still welfare for a multi-billionaire,” Braman told WSVN News in Miami. “It’s wrong.”

According to Forbes, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has a net worth of $4.4 billion. Braman believes that if Ross wants to renovate the Dolphins’ stadium, he should pay for it himself.

Braman has long advocated for lower taxes and has been a thorn in the Dolphins’ side for decades, always opposing the team’s efforts to get taxpayer support. Recently the Dolphins began to fight back, accusing Braman of hypocrisy and saying he asked for public support from Philadelphia during his time as owner of the Eagles, while skimping on the team’s payroll.

A public referendum on whether to use taxpayer money to renovate the stadium is expected within the next three months. The Dolphins are hoping to have financing in place by May 22, when NFL owners will vote on the host site for Super Bowl L in 2016.

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39 Responses to “Ex-Eagles owner: Dolphins stadium “welfare for a multi-billionaire””
  1. ajb3313 says: Feb 11, 2013 10:36 AM

    Well, originally, Stephen Ross was saying the renovations would be privately funded.

    The shame here is that what he’s asking isn’t all that unreasonable by sports owner standards, it’s just that he’s asking for it in a place that Jeffrey Loria recently robbed blind.

  2. dietrich43 says: Feb 11, 2013 10:37 AM

    Bramman may be a hypocrite, but I agree with him. Cities need to think about who gets rich off these deals, and here is a hint, it isnt the average tax payer.

  3. materialman80 says: Feb 11, 2013 10:39 AM

    It is welfare for some of the richest people in America! Everybody has their hand out wanting something. That’s what’s wrong with America today. Sports teams are a business, big business. If you can’t afford a stadium for your team, shut it down.

  4. wwwmattcom says: Feb 11, 2013 10:41 AM

    ‘should require Ross to take a drug test for his welfare.

  5. ttgb2 says: Feb 11, 2013 10:41 AM

    If a man tells you cheating on your wife is wrong, and you find out he cheated on his wife, does that somehow make cheating on your life a-OK because he’s a hypocrite?

    The man’s right. I don’t know whether he asked for the same stuff in Philly, but it really seems irrelevant.

  6. packman331 says: Feb 11, 2013 10:43 AM

    Is he a hypocrite? yeah, probably. But he is 100% correct now. When are we, as fans, going to stop subsidies to millionaires and billionaires? I have no problem with them making whatever money the market will allow them to. But factor the cost of your facility into YOUR budget, not mine. That’s what my business does.

  7. seabreezes51 says: Feb 11, 2013 10:45 AM

    The same guy that registers his yacht in the Caymans to dodge US taxes? That guy?

  8. greenbleeder says: Feb 11, 2013 10:47 AM

    At least Norman’s finally using his frugality for good instead of turning his back on Reggie White.

  9. emoser says: Feb 11, 2013 10:47 AM

    After seeing what the Marlins did I can’t imagine any Florida city voting to approve something like this.

  10. packmangamble says: Feb 11, 2013 10:49 AM

    Tell Braman to keep his mouth shut. It isn’t any of his business!

  11. zappaisgod says: Feb 11, 2013 10:49 AM

    Bramen was a cheap bastard that led to those god awful super boxes in the Vet. But he did save the team from being sold off to Phoenix in the night by a degenerate gambler. Buddy always referred to him as “that guy in France” classic, he only showed up in philly when he wanted to trash the city for the condition of the Vet.

  12. broncosaddict says: Feb 11, 2013 10:52 AM

    NFL teams need to fund their own buildings. They can rent it out when they arent using it.
    It will definitely be an incentive to stay with their cities/fan base as opposed to threatening to leave whenever the stadium isnt in the top X%.

  13. annes22 says: Feb 11, 2013 10:53 AM

    Norman Braman needs to mind his own business.
    He has already caused chaos in Miami over the Marlins. Get on with his own business, and mind
    everyone elses. I understand how much Mr Ross is worth, and I also undestand that Mr Ross is putting a large amount of his own money into the renovations of Dolphin Stadium.

  14. mustbechris says: Feb 11, 2013 10:55 AM

    Norman Braman was an AWFUL owner. I can’t stress that enough. He’s right, but he’s not the best person to be a figurehead for this cause.

  15. dlem7 says: Feb 11, 2013 11:00 AM

    After the debacle with the Marlins, I’m sure the city will have a tough time passing this legislation.

    Regardless of what was said, it has been shown that new stadiums or renovations create few net positives for the city in terms of revenue and jobs.

    The city should agree to pay some of the costs on a loan basis with interest to be repaid by the Dolphins.

  16. hehateme2 says: Feb 11, 2013 11:04 AM

    Remember that this would come from a bed tax paid mostly by tourists. That has already been put into the system for use.

    Braman is a tool and should keep his mouth shut. Dolphins stadium will do more good in bringing in large events and money than that stupid baseball wreck will.

  17. mrlaloosh says: Feb 11, 2013 11:04 AM

    I saw the Jaguars owners yacht park in the Mississippi River for the Super Bowl in New Orleans. I was flying a foreign flag with the Union Jack in one corner. I suppose that was also Cayman islands . They all do this. Every ship coming into American ports fly foreign flags, mostly Panama. That’s how they avoid the ridiculous taxes put on them by Congress. It’s how maritime business is conducted.

  18. eaglesw00t says: Feb 11, 2013 11:06 AM

    Braman needs to keep his mouth shut and worry about himself.

    He is the scumbag that let Reggie White walk and go to Green Bay without even giving him an offer.

    As far as I am concerned, Jeffrey Lurie bailed us Eagles fans out. Braman is a loser. He blew his money and has no idea how to run a sports franchise. Im surprised he isnt on welfare himself, because he doesnt know how to run anything other than cocaine and gambling losses.

  19. nyyjetsknicks says: Feb 11, 2013 11:09 AM

    Middle class helping to pay for billionaire stadium is capitalism. When the rich pays taxes on said stadium that socialism.

  20. bkh405 says: Feb 11, 2013 11:21 AM

    You heard he put up a large amount of his 4.4 billion for stadium renovations? That poor soul, I just hope he has enough left over to take a vacation into outer space with Richard Branson.

  21. phinfan says: Feb 11, 2013 11:25 AM

    If the public pays for half of the stadium cost. Does the public receive half of the ticket sales???

  22. jlinatl says: Feb 11, 2013 11:31 AM

    Braman’s opinions are strongly colored by the fact that his inability to run a franchise properly has cost him roughly $1 Billion.

    He sold the team for $185 million. Check it’s value now. He was a terrible owner and is not much a car dealer.

    Quite frankly, his opinion means nothing. Whereas I don’t like public funding, it is the way the game is played right now. Would certainly be better for everyone if it was not.

  23. thelastpieceofcheese says: Feb 11, 2013 11:45 AM

    Greedy rich guys using the government to compel the people to pay for their financial adventures is crony capitalism in which corrupt government is an accomplice.

    Get rid of these crooked politicians and bring in new ones to confiscate the accumulated of these billionaires that they stole from the people!

  24. bigperm33 says: Feb 11, 2013 11:47 AM

    Few things in sports bother me more than these stadium deals – these owners make millions from their team. Why should any tax money go for the stadium? Infrastructure around it= maybe. But build the stadium yourself.

  25. tamor78 says: Feb 11, 2013 12:05 PM

    Well then surely they will cut ticket prices in half, right?

  26. thestatsishere says: Feb 11, 2013 12:13 PM

    Miami is beyond corrupt. They allowed Loria to use the Marlins to screw over the city and now Ross is about to do the same thing?

    Someone tell me how the politicians aren’t in the owners’ pockets. Disgusting.

  27. dachozen1 says: Feb 11, 2013 12:32 PM

    That’s the whole problem with big businesses and their lobbyist. It is only welfare when middle class families pay into Social Security and then want their benefits as they get older. It is welfare to get Medicare but not when big businesses use the public’s taxpayer money. Meanwhile, middle class families fight each other.

  28. rdrs68 says: Feb 11, 2013 12:33 PM

    Ross another one per center-bet he voted for Mittens and gives lots of money for conservative causes and yet wants all he can take.

  29. dtr3e says: Feb 11, 2013 12:40 PM

    I think no sports team should receive a cent of tax payers money. They charge an arm and a leg for tickets, food, and beverages at the games. You also got these stupid PSL that charge fans even more. Enough is enough, these greedy owners have plenty of money they don’t need tax payers money. The taxes need to go to the schools, whats more important kids education or a new jumbo screen for the local stadium? Not a hard question to answer.

  30. granadafan says: Feb 11, 2013 12:40 PM

    No more corporate welfare for multi billionaires!

    Regardless of what you feel about Braman, he is 100% correct. It’s time that taxpayers, cities, states, Tea Baggers, Liberals, Conservatives, Progressives, Democrats, and Republicans came together and put a stop to this ridiculous welfare for billionaires. The NFL is the most profitable sports organization in the world.

    Why is the public in a terrible recession forced to pay for the lavish palaces of multibillionaire owners of billion dollar teams in a league worth tens of billions of dollars. Google or Apple don’t demand that the cities pay for their headquarters.

  31. granadafan says: Feb 11, 2013 12:44 PM

    Here’s the NFL’s philosophy. Give us brand new stadiums every 5-10 years costing a billion or we’ll move. Oh, and we’ll black out the games on TV if you don’t buy enough tickets and prevent the taxpayers from watching our product. PS, Thank you TV networks for the 10 billion dollar TV rights checks!

    Nah, there’s nothing wrong with the NFL making taxpayers pay for their stadiums!

  32. commonsensedude says: Feb 11, 2013 1:04 PM

    I could see a better case being made for taxpayer money going to the stadium if Florida schools didn’t stink so badly. They had to lower the statewide standards a couple of years ago just so a larger percentage of kids could pass. And there is that issue that Florida seems to have with, you know, counting and stuff.

  33. ttccompanion says: Feb 11, 2013 1:22 PM

    Does it matter? They can dump truck loads of money into that stadium – until the team starts sucking less, they won’t be able to fill the stands. Braman’s comments are the least of Ross’ concerns… and frankly, there should be more concentration on the team rather than the building they’re losing in… (speaking as a Floridian and a Dolphins fan)

  34. q1ller says: Feb 11, 2013 1:31 PM

    Sure, public funding sucks, but look at it this way…

    We have a free market system in this country and if the “demand” to have a team in a community weren’t strong enough, public funding wouldn’t exist. It is, in a sense, just another avenue (like ticket purchases) through which the demand is reflected.

    That said, do I think celebrities and sports stars/franchises make way too much money? You darn right I do!

  35. garrygates says: Feb 11, 2013 1:56 PM

    The hearts of those dissenting here are great, but their frustration is slightly misplaced. It’d be one thing if taxpayer money goes into Mr. Ross’ stadium fund, with no returns… but the Dolphins are bidding on an important Super Bowl coming up, and the money generated from that if/when they win will pay dividends to South Florida well beyond the tune of ~$200 mil.

  36. dowhatifeellike says: Feb 11, 2013 2:02 PM

    Do what any other business would do and take out a loan.

    If the renovation won’t increase revenue enough to offset the loan payments, it’s not a good idea.

  37. gatorfinsatty says: Feb 11, 2013 3:38 PM

    The problem is that South Florida still feels the burn that the Marlins put on us so recently.

    The big difference is that a football stadium is more of a sound investment in the community and keeping the NFL team tethered to that venue for 25 years – as promised by ownership – ain’t bad either. The studium upgrades will keep the area competitve for college football semifinals and championships along with staying in the 5-7 year rotation for Super Bowl bids. Those events attract tourism and replenish government coffers with general tax revenue for other public functions that are non-sports related. That directly benefits the area and people working in service industries (read – not Steve Ross or the Dolphins).

    This isn’t just about the Miami Dolphins having a sexy renovated home. That IS what the Marlins deal was about. That park isn’t used for anything but a typically bad sports franchise and other events for which people don’t travel to the area to attend. This stadium is a good deal for South Florida. You have to spend money to make money.

  38. phillyphan72 says: Feb 11, 2013 5:25 PM

    Hahaha…Braman was a cheapskate and a terrible owner but he is right…Ross wants taxpayer money and is worth 4.4Billion? Then to too it off when the Fins don’t sell out those same taxpayers can’t watch their Fins on local TV

  39. oldbyrd says: Feb 12, 2013 8:22 AM

    Lets let Obama figure this out. He’s fantastic at spending other peoples money.

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