Miami Marlins prez David Samson: City parking garage tax bill not team’s problem

The Marlins don’t get the benefit of the doubt much when it comes to financial matters. It wasn’t surprising the knee-jerk reaction by some was to skewer the club after this week’s Miami Herald article saying the City of Miami is looking at a huge property tax bill for the parking garages around the new ballpark.

Marlins President David Samson addressed the issue Wednesday on his weekly segment with Dan LeBatard and Stugotz on 790 The Ticket. The team had no hand in City taxpayers getting leveled with an unforeseen expense.

“We don’t own the garages,” Samson said. “We bought spots. It’s the same thing as you buying a parking spot in the building where you live and being asked to pay a percentage of property tax. Not that anyone has asked us because it wouldn’t make sense to have a private company pay property taxes of a publicly-owned building.

“That really has nothing to do with the team. It’s really between the city and the county. It’s a city-owned garage. I don’t know if the city pays property taxes on all its other garages or not. These are the same. It’s being run by the Miami Parking Authority. The only thing we are is tenants who are agreeing to buy a lot of spots. It’s like when you pull into a garage in any downtown office building and buy a spot for a day. You don’t pay property tax.”

The Marlins are buying all 5,700 spaces for the 81 home games at $10 each. The City of Miami annually will receive $4,617,000 from the Marlins for those spots, whether they are sold or not. What the Marlins in turn charge fans for those spots is up to them. Samson said he anticipates most if not all of the spaces will be earmarked for season ticket holders.

“The fact is, property tax never even came up in any discussion when it came to the garages,” Samson said. “They were building garages as part of the deal. They asked us to buy the spots and we negotiated what it would cost to buy the spots and that was that. It was a very heavily negotiated part of the deal. It’s not that it was a point of contention that there’s going to be property tax, who’s going to pay it, who’s not going to pay it? That never came up.”

Samson added he had not spoken with anyone in the city or county about it…

**Doesn’t sound like the Marlins will be announcing the ballpark name any time soon. Here’s what Samson had to say about the naming rights deal:

“It will be a name in good taste and a name that will not change over time. It will be a constant name for our entire 50- or 60-year stay there…It’s a very tough negotiating deal and we’re sort of waiting right now to see what happens with the team on the field, so there’s nothing imminent.”…

** Asked about when free agents might start signing, Samson said players generally like to know where they’re headed before Christmas, and it’s typical to see some action plus or minus a week of the Winter Meetings (Dec. 5-8).


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