MIAMI – A local activist is taking on Miami-Dade County in an attempt to stop a land sale to soccer star David Beckham.
Bruce Matheson said the county should have put the land up for bid. That would have allowed for more profit for the public, which owns the almost 3-acre county truck depot that was sold in a no-bid deal to Beckham for his stadium site.
"That in itself means that the citizens of Dade County are not getting a fair shake on the sale of the land, which actually belongs to them," Matheson said.
Matheson filed a six-page lawsuit late last week based on a state statute governing sale of public lands. He said it's his way of stopping the building of a Major League Soccer stadium that residents in adjacent Spring Garden -- where he owns property -- oppose.
"The noise, the congestion, the fact that the Fifth Street bridge, it's constantly going up and down, and the traffic will be gridlock," Matheson said.
Matheson is part of the pioneering Miami-Dade County family that deeded land for public parks years ago. He has the pedigree, the will and the means to oppose government in the courts and has done so in the past.
Commissioners approved the $9 million no-bid deal in a 9-4 vote last month in return for promises of 50 jobs and public benefits. But Matheson alleges the price was too low, saying that appraisals didn't take into account the sale of neighboring properties for twice their appraised value and buildings underway in a part of town ripe for development.
"I said in the county commission meeting that I would pay the same price with the same terms," Matheson said.
Beckham's group had no comment on the lawsuit.