Suit Filed Against Beckham's MLS Stadium Deal | Athletic Business

Suit Filed Against Beckham's MLS Stadium Deal

David Beckham's plans to build a Major League Soccer stadium in Miami hit a new legal snag this week as a wealthy landowner filed suit over the sale of land the would-be stadium would rest on.

The Miami Herald reports that Bruce Matheson, whose family is famous in the area for previously blocking the expansion of sports facilities, filed suit to block the sale of county land to a Beckham-led group. The no-bid land deal that the stadium builders agreed to allowed them to purchase the land for $9 million, but during that process other potential bidders were shut out. Matheson’s complaint cites state law that requires public land sales go to the highest bidder.

The suit alleges that a new stadium will have a negative impact on the surrounding neighborhood, inviting unwanted traffic and noise to the area. Matheson seeks to have a judge block the sale and open up the land for purchase by other bidders.

“Twenty-five thousand people entering that neighborhood will wreak havoc with noise, traffic and pedestrian congestion,” Matheson told the Miami New Times. “Because it’s not only a proposed soccer stadium, it’s a proposed concert stadium.”

Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Gimenez used a state economic development law in drafting the no-bid deal. The same law was used previously to sell land to developers, with the deal being reviewed and approved by the state.

A spokesperson for Gimenez told the Herald that Matheson’s suit is part of a vendetta against sports in the area.

“It’s apparent that Mr. Matheson hates professional sports,” Michael Hernandez said.

In order for the stadium plan to reach fruition, Beckham’s partnership needs to beat the lawsuit, earn MLS approval for a new Miami franchise and maintain financial support from investors. The proposed stadium will be privately owned and receive no funding from local taxpayers.

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