MIAMI – Coral Gables attorney David Winker filed a lawsuit in Miami-Dade County court Friday alleging a lack of competitive bidding in the Melreese Park deal is a violation of the charter. It's a move that could continue to stall David Beckham's Major League Soccer stadium in Miami.
Winker alleges the leasing of the International Links Melreese Country Club, which 60 percent of the voters endorsed, is illegal because the city charter prohibits the commission from "favorably considering any sale or lease of property owned by the city unless there is a return to the city of fair market value."
Winker is critical of the way developer Jorge Mas, and his associates, including Beckham, his brother Jose Mas, Marcelo Claure and Masayoshi Son went about negotiating a deal with the city. He accused Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and City Manager Emilio Gonzalez of not playing by the rules.
Late last year, Winker filed a complaint with the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust. The complaint alleged the owners of the Miami MLS team didn't register as lobbyists before asking commissioners to include the Melreese Park proposal on the ballot in November.
Winker raises the same allegation in the lawsuit.
The ethics commission determined earlier this week that the lobbyist registration had been fulfilled. Jorge and Jose Mas are registered as lobbyists of Miami Beckham United LLC.
John Shubin, a Shubin & Bass founding partner, released a statement to the Daily Business Review saying Winker’s lawsuit has no merit. The city didn't release a statement about the lawsuit.