Weatherford fires back at Dolphins


After absorbing days of verbal body blows from the likes of Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, Dolphins CEO Mike Dee, and folks like our pal Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, who believes that the citizens’ right to vote has been usurped, Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford has fired back.

Specifically, Weatherford claims he never promised to put the stadium renovation bill to a full vote of the House of Representatives, a necessary step toward allowing voters in Miami-Dade County to cast ballots on whether hotel taxes would be increased by one percent.

“At no point during the process were any promises made to hear the Dolphins Stadium bill on the House floor,” Weatherford said in a statement, via Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post.  “It’s no coincidence that we haven’t heard about this so-called commitment until after the bill died.”

So, basically, someone is lying.  Either the Dolphins are lying about getting at least four commitments from Weatherford that he’d let the House vote on whether to let the people of Miami-Dade vote on the tax increase, or Weatherford is lying about not making that promise once, or more than once.

Regardless, it’s a bad look for Weatherford, whose justification for not allowing the bill to be voted on comes off as confusing, at best.

“The feedback from Miami-Dade was negative and there were concerns expressed by members on both sides of the aisle,” Weatherford said.  “It’s not the fault of the Florida Legislature that Dolphins’ management failed to win legislative approval to force taxpayers to upgrade Sun Life Stadium after paying for a local referendum.  Some would call that putting the cart before the horse.”

Yes, some would call it that.  But some would also call Weatherford the rear end of a horse for not giving the members of the House a chance to vote on a bill that sailed through the Senate, and that ultimately would have provided to the people of Miami-Dade County the power to make the decision on their own.

Weatherford’s statement didn’t address the team’s suspicion that Weatherford blocked the bill to advance his own personal political aspirations.  As we’ve reported, and as Dee essentially confirmed, the team suspects that former Eagles owner Norman Braman is pulling strings by promising Weatherford that support for his future campaigns will be provided by Braman’s constituencies in South Florida.

Regardless of the finger pointing and the agendas and whatever else contributed to the failure of the stadium renovation effort, there was no legitimate reason to keep the House from voting on a bill that would have given the voters the chance to determine the outcome of the renovation plan.  Maybe the vote would have failed, but it’s a vote the citizens should have had the right to conduct.

83 responses to “Weatherford fires back at Dolphins

  1. When is comes to owners of sports team vs. politicians, polictians are probably telling the truth because they don’t care about sports.

  2. ozymandias121 says:
    May 8, 2013 2:08 PM
    When is comes to owners of sports team vs. politicians, polictians are probably telling the truth because they don’t care about sports.

    Politicians go where the money goes. Football is big business.

  3. I highly disagree with that first comment unless it’s sarcasim. Sports creates MONEY and politicians are ALL about making some money (and spending it too). So they care VERY much, perhaps even more than the average fan.

  4. Under no circumstances should tax payers be on the hook for a professional sporting franchise for any reason.

  5. It’s called representative government.. That’s what we elect people to do. Are we supposed to let the people vote on every issue that is proposed? Why should sports franchises be treated differently than everyone else. Well, I guess we all know that unfortunately that IS the case. People are so ate up with sports that the rules are different for it. If you don’t like what your representatives do then vote them out. Don’t treat sports like some sacred cow that should have different rules than every one else. Even though they do unfortunately. If most posters spent as much time whining about other more important issues than sports maybe our contry would not be in the shape it is in now.

  6. But some would also call Weatherford the rear end of a horse for not giving the members of the House a chance to vote on a bill that sailed through the Senate, and that ultimately would have provided to the people of Miami-Dade County the power to make the decision on their own.


    This is what it boils down to for me. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, the people should have had a chance to decide for themselves.

  7. Do state legislatures give the people a chance to vote on tax increases? I didn’t think so. Why should voters have this dumped on their laps – is there nothing more important in Miami than getting the Superbowl?

  8. May 8, 2013 2:11 PM
    ozymandias121 says:
    May 8, 2013 2:08 PM
    When is comes to owners of sports team vs. politicians, polictians are probably telling the truth because they don’t care about sports.

    Politicians go where the money goes. Football is big business.


    There is money in Miami after Loria and the Marlins? Dolphins finish .500 this season.

  9. Also, the guy in that pic looks like a total creep, reminds me of a movie but I can’t picture it at this moment, oh well he just looks like a corrupt politician and should be burned at the stake =)

  10. Forget about passing judgment, figure out which one is lying and fine him countless millions and send a message that the rich and powerful will not be tolerated for their incessant lying and shady work practices.

  11. Any time a politician does anything to stop sports owners from extorting tax money for their stadiums, it’s a good thing. Fans vote with their hearts, and then when they get hit in the wallet later it’s too late.

  12. Typical politician…..just like the guy that said…”I never had sex with that woman”

  13. If the Gazillionaires want to spend big bucks to upgrade the stadium, let them. But make NO MISTAKE, it is NOT acceptable for them to keep trying to pass off these extravagant spendings and expenses onto the taxpayers and the little guys. If they want to get support, then they must promise and PUT in writing where the taxpayers and voters get back two dollars for every tax dollar in the first cuts of any profits the stadium (not the dolphins) generates. Any profits for the Dolphins have to come at the end, only after funds from the profits are paid out to everyone else. This means any monies generated after the current expense levels (based on the last year’s expenses) are covered, those monies go back to the taxpayers to be spent on lowering the tax burdens and not to be used for any governmental programs or governmental expenses.

    And guess what? NONE of these Fat Cats will go for this as all they want is to rape and raid the public to increase their profits and increase the value of the team (for future sale) on the backs of the taxpayers.

    Its time to stop this form of robbery of the public.

  14. “Your President is not a crook.”
    “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky”
    “We have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.”
    “I was hiking the Appalachian Trail.”
    I think I know who to believe in this one.

  15. Is that pic above one of Weatherford? Or is it one of a used car salesman calling a customer to “smooth over” the rough edges on a finance contract?

    I can’t tell which.

  16. 1uniquename says:
    May 8, 2013 2:23 PM
    Also, the guy in that pic looks like a total creep, reminds me of a movie but I can’t picture it at this moment

    Boiler Room????

  17. I’m so sick of corporate superpowers’ extortion attempts on the working public. Screw them.

  18. someone needs to scream in his ear. “THIS IS A DEMOCRACY. LET PEOPLE VOTE ON THE ISSUE”

  19. Without question Weatherford is lying. No billionaire businessman would leave anything to chance in a situation as big as this on just an ambivolent statement from a politician. I bet Ross met with Weatherford face to face and Weatherford assured him this would be up for a vote. Weatherford was bought off by another party with other motives that aren’t disclosed as of yet. Only a moron would think that politicians wouldn’t weigh the options of personal gain. Ross’s motives were clear and just and a vote from the people is the way everything should be handled. Like it or not he asked for it to be voted on. You can’t fault an owner for that and the ROI would have been paid back in full and then some by the next hosted Super Bowl. You guys are idiots if you drew another conclusion.

  20. “The feedback from Miami-Dade was negative and there were concerns expressed by members on both sides of the aisle,” Weatherford said.

    Wow! And there is the first lie. The fact is, the vote was shaping up more and more in the Dolphins favor with each passing day. A no brainer when you really see the details of the renovation deal, and that voters finally learned the Dolphins would be paying all the money back.

  21. No one will believe this guy .. he just completely nails that lying scumbag politician stereotype way too much.

  22. This could be a blessing in disguise. IF the Legislature does pass the bill in the next session, this whole contretemps will increase the likelihood that the “upset” voters will vote in favor of this public handout to someone who can fund it himself.

  23. “cokely says: May 8, 2013 2:15 PM

    Under no circumstances should tax payers be on the hook for a professional sporting franchise for any reason.”

    Why? The City (tax payers) make a fortune off of a pro sports venue both directly and indirectly, splitting the bill is absolutely the right thing to do, not to mention the majority of construction costs go immediately directly back into the state economy. It’s called and investment.

  24. Weatherford is just another lying politician. There were others in room that heard him state several times that he would not block the bill from being heard.

    The Dolphins had enough votes for this to have moved forward. Just another wannabe scumbag.

  25. Yes, he’s probably the usual sleazebag politician, but so is Ross now that he has forayed into seeking public funds for HIS STADIUM. Bottom line is, it’s about time someone put a stop charity for billionaires, and however selfish Weatherford’s motives may be, he kept Ross from fleecing the citizens of the Miami area.

  26. Expect this one to go for a while. Politicians revel in arguing with rich people when they know they look good doing it no matter how shady they might be about it.

  27. To me, Weatherford looks bad for this no matter what.

    He was responsible to the public to address their needs. The stadium is a public use facility. It needs addressing, and he failed to submit this issue for a vote. It was a 5 minute paperwork that had to be submitted, and he couldnt even get an intern/assistant to do that.

    So either way, Weatherford is at fault. If it got voted down, he would have been fine. Instead, he didnt even get it submitted, thus opening himself up for questions and criticism. And this is what he is getting.

  28. 1% may not sound like much to tack onto a hotel tax, but have you ever stayed in Miami??? Good lord, it’s already ridiculously over priced!!

  29. Honestly, I wouldn’t even vote for the dam thing if it was presented to me. Dear Dolphins, when did you last win a Super Bowl or better yet, a playoff game?

    You want a new stadium? Then give the fans something to cheer about. Build a TEAM! Especially after Jeff Loria conned Miami into building a new ballpark for his Marlins, you need to show that you’re committed to winning and actually produce wins.

  30. @truths4all – Apparently you haven’t been paying too close attention to every single NFL stadium in the NFL. They have ALL been financed at some degree by the cities they occupy. The city understands the monetary risk as the revenue generated by venues at said stadium are far greater in returns. Having the taxpayers contribute to a percentage of investment is how EVERY SINGLE thing gets built in every city. The whole point is to create wealth in a city. If the owners solely built the stadium on their own dime, the city would only get tax revenues and nothing more. The cities negotiate returns based on their investment. In essence, the city of Arlington in Texas financed a large portion of the stadium and are reaping the returns exponentially. Learn what you are talking about and understand local commerce before you spout off your rhetoric about those FAT CATS you despise so much. You have to spend money to make money or does that cliche allude your intellect?

    Also, why blame the rich for asking the people to vote on it? They aren’t sneaking through legislation in the middle of the night and paying off elected officials. This is a public vote. If the public wants a stadium and they vote accordingly, then they should get it. This is the purest form of empowering the citizens of this country. I am laughing at the ignorance of your post!

  31. Dan Marino, with his dazzling personality and MENSA like intelligence should really be the face of the lobby for the renovations to the stadium…

  32. cokely says:
    May 8, 2013 2:15 PM
    Under no circumstances should tax payers be on the hook for a professional sporting franchise for any reason.


    Ignorance must be bliss.

    The Dolphins had it set up to pay the money back. The stadium is also to be used for public use when the Dolphins arent using it.

    Why should the public be allowed to use a stadium that Ross owns for free? Are you letting people come into your house and use it as a hostel, and then tell them to just have a nice day?

    No. You own your home. (Well…you might not…) but he owns the building. The city shouldnt expect to use his facilities without ponying up a few bucks for maintenance.

  33. Why should we ever trust that NFL owners are telling the truth? For all we know the bill “sailed through the Senate” because Stephen Ross paid off all the state senators. Maybe Will Weatherford is the only representative standing up for the people and making sure Floridians don’t have to couch up more money to line the pockets of a “GAZILLIONAIRE.” I don’t personally care why he’s doing it, but I’m thrilled that someone is saying “no” to a sports owner.

  34. Weatherford thank you for denied the right to vote to the Miami dade people ( oh you are from Pasco .???) let me know your contact in Braman to obtain a discount to buy a new BMW.

  35. I’m with Weatherford!

    It is high past time for the billionaire owners of the NFL to STOP coming to strapped taxpayers with their hats in hand asking for a handout!

    Let that bum Ross hold up a sign on the freeway and do his panhandling honestly!

    The NFL is the most popular sports league in the USA but if they keep blackmailing the people who live in the same communities as their teams than that will eventually change.

  36. When the stadium is used by someone other than the Dophins there are fees involved. They aren’t given free use of the stadium. So no it’s not like using your house for free. These fees are in addition to the tax based fees

  37. I am tired of hearing ignorant people say, “Let the business pay for its own facilities.”

    First, it is common practice for governments to entice/reward businesses to locate/stay located in their jurisdiction with tax incentives and building of infrastructure. It happens everyday everywhere. It is part of the government/business partnership. Since government benefits from business taxes and local revenue taxes from business, it only seems logical for government to kick in some of the costs.

    Second and most important, NFL teams only use the stadium 10 to 13 times a year. The rest of the days the stadium is open for other public uses. Why should a team pay all the costs when others benefit? When the NFL first started, they only located in towns that already had a college stadium or baseball park. Now that the NFL is mature and crowds are too big for the local college stadium or minor league park, NFL teams need larger stadiums. That does not relieve the public from paying for part of the cost. It makes no economic sense for a team to eat up all their profits building its own stadium that is used only several times a year when the public and government also benefit. They need to kick in some of the cost also.

  38. The Dolphins winning should have nothing to do with it. The Arizona Cardinals built an elaborate stadium in Glendale and Bidwell is making millions off of it and so is Glendale but they suck. The NFL is a business first and a game second. Owners love to win, but the risk is theirs alone to burden and making money is the key. Some owners are better than others at both but investing in a stadium to be utilized for many venues to raise billions in revenue is only common sense. How do you think the Olympics works? Cities BID FOR HOSTING RIGHTS and accept the costs up front. I swear to GOD that some of you are too stupid to see the gains that cities get for having a sports franchise. All of you idiots out there see this as gouging of the taxpayer but fail to understand that MOST SPORTS FRANCHISES create wealth within the city or they LEAVE. By the way, the tax burden is a non issue as other projects are just moved to another fiscal year to make room for the better investments. Some of you baffle me and I wonder how you all made it through school or college. WOW!

  39. Remedial Civics Lesson 101:

    The United States of America contrary to public belief is NOT a democracy and never has been.

    It is a Constitutional Republic and until the early 20th century, public referendums like the greedy owner of the Dolphins wants, were not even allowed.

    Stephen Ross knows the biggest saps in the world are the voting public.

    After all, that same voting public just reelected a president who has presided over the most beleaguered 5 years of economic “growth” since the Great Depression over a man who has done nothing but create wealth and jobs his entire working life.

    Ross knows he can’t fool the Florida Legislature…but he knows that the voters are an easy mark!

  40. The people did and will have a vote. That is the key feature of a Representative government.

    If a direct vote on this issue is needed how about direct votes on other issues:

    Medicaid. Voting to raise taxes to increase coverage or lower taxes and set treatment limits.

    Abortion. Voting to raise taxes to provide more abortions or lowering tax rates and refusing to support any payment for abortions or financial support for any organizations that support same.

    Special Education. Public Education. Mass Transit. Handicap Access. The list could go on and on. All on up/down increase/decrease votes.

    This is why the USA was established as a Republic. To keep emotion and majority tyranny (and other important reans) out of the deliberative process (as much as possible) and to allow for a process to ‘correct’ policy if citizens see a need for corrections. These are called elections.

    We have seen a huge number of direct votes on numerous issues recently. Some of these have had severe, unintended consequences. In this case an impact to the convention and hotel industries were/are a real possibility.

  41. It says a lot about how much our nation has come to hate our politicians when we actually trust the soulless NFL owners more than our elected leaders.

    I believe Ross over Weatherford, no question about it. And I don’t even like Ross.

  42. Weatherford is making statements that don’t make sense. When that happens, 99% of the time that is the person who lied.

  43. Weatherford put his own interests above those of the citizens. He made the decision himself rather than let the people’s elected representatives decide whether or not the matter warranted the vote of the people. That is corruption regardless of whether he believes he is right.

    Ross is a successful businessman. You don’t get to billionaire status by making stupid decisions and wasting money. Ross no doubt was told that it would be put to a vote. He also knew there were enough votes to pass the measure in both the Senate (overwhelmingly passed) and the house. there was no way he would spend millions on the voting process if he was not assured it would happen. The people could have voted the measure down (or up) but were denied that right by a weasel of a politician who believed his own personal interests and vote (through inaction) outweighed the right of the voters. Regardless of political party, these are the corrupt @*^%$ that need to be voted out of office at the very next opportunity.

  44. I for one don’t care if Weatherford lied to Stephen Ross.

    The biggest story is this: One politician is attempting to protect the citizens of Dade county Florida from being fleeced by a billionaire.

    I don’t care what party you belong to: that is a GOOD thing.

    People shouldn’t have the right to vote to tax other people’s wallets.

    That is why we are a Republic and not a democracy: to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority.

  45. I didnt think I would come here to read about the idiotic repooplican state senators….
    these things are multiplying TOO FAST!! They need to be exterminated quickly.

  46. When are people going to realize that NFL owners are only after one thing. YOUR MONEY! If the taxpayers voted to spend the money on SunLife they would get a Super Bowl that NONE OFBTHE taxpayers would be allowed to attend. Only the fat cat corporate hangers ons would get tickets to a Super Bowl. This is not a DEMOCRACY. It’s a Republic founded on democratic principles. The people don’t have a right to vote on ever initiative. That’s why we elect representatives to do the people’s bidding. Vote them out if they don’t. It’s simple as that. Just remember “NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF STUPID PEOPLE IN LARGE NUMBERS”. Just sayin’…….

  47. “At no point during the process were any promises made …”
    When is the last time any of you heard a politician speak WITHOUT promising something?

  48. tokyosandblaster says:
    May 8, 2013 2:25 PM
    I guarantee this guy wanted a payoff and didn’t get it
    Yea well the politician and sports owner both wanted pay offs that they didn’t get. It doesn’t happen too often but sometimes there is justice in this world.

  49. Reading through these comments- I feel like I am in Bizzarro land. Typically the fat cat politicians push stadiums because they receive kick backs from the teams/owners.

    When a politician goes against the team- that isn’t a politician looking for money- that is one that is hearing from other constituents that the money is a waste and could be better spent elswhere. That is a politician that doesn’t want to appear to be Ross’ stooge.

    Finally cities are understanding that Pro teams and NOT a boon for city governments and general welfare. The irony is Florio decries how much of a loss it is to lose the super bowl- but he was just telling us three months ago that the NFL squeezes tax revenue before agreeing to the big game. What good is the super bowl then if the cities dont collect the uptick in sales tax? Just absurd-

  50. Miami, just tell the owners you’ll give them each a Yacht again for the week and steal another SB from Houston….

    BTW, NFL Owners…. how’d those yachts work out for you?

  51. Didn’t Weatherford basically inherit his house seat from his father-in-law?

  52. All this negative press isn’t giving Stephen Ross re-sale value thats for sure.

    Wayne got out at the right time – kudos to ole wayne

  53. Wow, by reading these comments I think I figured out what happened to the US economy – you guys have no clue how the economy works. Stop being idiots – problem solved 🙂

  54. Lots of bills don’t make it to the floor. The government doesn’t work by having “the people” vote on every single measure. They elect people to represent them. That’s how government works lol

  55. dlk47823 says: May 8, 2013 3:55 PM

    Our beloved commander and chief made hundred of promises………..still waiting!!!!
    It’s “Commander IN Chief” genius, and which one are you referring to? That description fits every politician ever born.

  56. I wanted to vote no but Weatherford took my right to vote away.Ross is spoiled brat but this guys worse!

  57. I find it hilarious that people on here believe that cities should finance these stadiums because the return will eventually be a profit. Do you guys read the endless reports on just how bad these deals actually turn out for the taxpayers? All the risk, no return. In most, if not all cases, the revenue the teams claim it will create for the economy are greatly exaggerated. Ask the taxpayers of Cincinnati how their two deals areworking out for them, or look at New Jersey, where Giants Stadium is still being paid for, even though it has already been demolished.

  58. suttonea76 says: May 8, 2013 2:55 PM
    ” The cities negotiate returns based on their investment. In essence, the city of Arlington in Texas financed a large portion of the stadium and are reaping the returns exponentially.”

    Riddle me this suttonea76, if such profits are available why aren’t smart business men risking their own money to reap these exponential returns?

  59. I’m not entirely sold on this plan by the Dolphins (though it is worth pointing out that the majority of this plan would have been paid for with hotel bed taxes, and not from taxpayer pockets). I don’t like Dee. I don’t like Ross. I do love the Dolphins, though.

    However, my bigger problem is that some dude from Pasco County (Weatherford) decided what we can and can’t do in Miami. As a South Floridian, I’m getting kinda tired of propping up the finances of the rest of this state and being given the shaft by politicians in Tallahassee.

    Braman may have been right about the Marlins, but this deal with the Dolphins was a different animal. It deserved proper consideration at the least, and the decision should have been made in Miami, by Miamians. Further, Braman is still a hypocrite (look up his history in Philadelphia, where he was always happy to take taxpayer money) and his car stealerships are the worst in the city, hands down. No joke, dealing with the morons that work in his dealerships makes me want to eat sand, scream, and bang my head into a wall.

    I think it’s time that we start a serious conversation about splitting South Florida into another state. We really don’t have anything to do with everything north of Palm Beach County. And we really don’t want anything to do with the rest of the state.

    Like they say, “Florida, the further north you go, the further South you are.”

  60. being a former resident of Miami, but not a Dolphin fan I’m hoping they get that stadium upgraded. I’m a Hurricane and I want the University to play in a nice stadium. But this guy did the city of Miami a favor. They needed to be saved from themselves. We all know how the Marlins stadium deal turned out. When you win its easier to get something like this done. Just ask the 49ers. The Dolphins arent that good and the stadium has nothing to do with it.

  61. “Norman Braman is pulling strings by promising Weatherford that support for his future campaigns will be provided by Braman’s constituencies in South Florida” What constituencies? Car dealers?

  62. Today it was announced that Ross donated $2 Billion to charity and he cannot afford to come up with $300 million for his own stadium? I’m a Dolphins fan but I’m sick of Ross, Dees and Ireland. Can I call for a vote to force Ross to sell the team? I bet Weatherford would see that it gets through the house!

  63. One of my earliest football memories is the 72 dolphins. I don’t care if they get a new stadium or not. But, I think it would really be ashame if they moved. Being a Saints fan growing up when playoff time came you had to have a team that you rooted for. And, Bob C, Mecury Morris, Larry Zonka, Jim Quick and the no name defense was the team I followed besides the Saints. The Dolphins belong in Miami, and their not asking for a new stadium just to renovate the old one. Come on Miami get it done. It would be ashame to see them playing somewhere else.

  64. Back like 10 years ago when Brown County WI voted on to pay for a half cent sales tax increase to fund a $250 million dollar refit of Lambeau it was a close vote passing 51% to 49% People against it said it was a waste of money and Packers should pay for it themselves. The people against it have been proven wrong as since Lambeau was redone the money that has come into the Green Bay area has increased and people now admit it was a smart investment to make. Let the voters in Miami decide it they want to make the same investment or not . Also to the fans who say let the owner pay for it himself. Ok then when he does that every business making any money off those games should give every penny they make to the Dolphins.

  65. This is such a joke… Citizens are supposed to get to vote on a tourist tax, but not other types of taxes? No one has ever asked me how I feel on the rediculous property taxes in Wisconsin, shouldn’t that be the sort of thing you get to vote on, how a state taxes the property I paid taxes on when I bought it.

  66. Regardless of the political motivations, public money should not be used to fund private enterprises, especially when the NFL is netting record profits and more especially in this economy…

    Citing Economic Impact Studies that have no logical, scientific method is about as ridiculous as the credibility of producers of those studies – business college professors with coed personal advisory sessions scheduling conflicts taking financial grants and cars from NFL lobbyists …

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