Lawsuit filed against Miami on soccer stadium land deal

Mayor, city commissioners listed as plaintiffs

MIAMI – A lawsuit has been filed against the city of Miami claiming that it broke its charter when it entered into a no-bid deal to put a Major League Soccer stadium on city-owned property. 

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday on behalf of resident William Muir.

Mayor Francis Suarez, City Manager Emilio Gonzalez, City Attorney Victoria Mendez and five city commissioners are also listed as the plaintiffs.

"The public has a clear and certain legal right to public notice and a prior opportunity to compete for the lease or sale of any real property or interest owned by the city," the lawsuit claims.

Commissioners were deciding Wednesday whether to put the sale of the Melreese Country Club golf course to soccer star David Beckham and Miami businessman Jorge Mas on the November ballot.

Commissioner Manolo Reyes has been very vocal on the issue, saying the city is going against its own charter and that the voters of Miami should decide on what happens with the publically-owned land.

"We are picking apart public land owned by the people of Miami and we are circumventing -- we are circumventing -- our own statutes, our own laws," Reyes said.

"The process has been followed," Suarez told Reyes. "I understand that you don't like it. I understand that you are not in favor of it. You have been very clear on that since March 8 when we first discussed this issue in the commission meeting. You have every right to your perspective. I respect it, and that's it."

Mas and Beckham have lobbied the community in their efforts to bring professional soccer to Miami. The ownership group recently submitted a revised proposal on the plan to build a soccer stadium, offices and an entertainment complex.

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