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Miami-Dade County to Marlins: We thought you were broke

Florida MarlinsMiami-Dade County Commissioners are a little peeved that the Florida Marlins presented their finances as being in dire straits while showing a $33-million profit in 2008-2009 and are asking the team to cover $50 million in borrowing expenses. We can predict what the reaction will be: No.

The request was made by Commissioner Sally Heyman at Friday’s meeting, who expressed concern that the county was led astray by the Florida front office during negotiations for the new Marlins ballpark slated to open in 2012. At the time the Marlins basically portrayed the franchise as being broke and $141 million in debt, though the county never was able to access team financial data past a pro forma from 2003.

Though several commissioners stepped up and basically agreed with Heyman, they came to the same conclusion: Unless the Marlins were willing to come back to the table and renegotiate the whole deal, there’s virtually no chance the county will ever see that $50 million.

The real lesson: Cities and counties that make multimillion-dollar deals should probably have a lot more information at hand than what the Marlins provided.

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