Tropical Park stadium idea is unwanted, unnecessary, unlikely to become reality

A controversial proposal floated only on social media to build a huge state-of-the-art stadium in the middle of Tropical Park is not supported by county officials or anybody at the University of Miami.

The whole fancy notion is just attorney John H. Ruiz having a wet dream.

Miami-Dade Commissioner Javier Souto had a Sunshine zoom meeting Thursday with county parks officials, attorneys and at least three more commissioners, none of whom were friendly to the idea of a 60-000 seat stadium complex.

“It’s very disturbing to see that somebody is trying to attack a park,” said Souto, who is taking it way too personally and has issued statements against any development of a 60,000 stadium complex. He asked if the county had any official unsolicited proposal and Chief Operating Officer (read: deputy mayor) Jimmy Morales gave a hard no.

“We haven’t received any proposal for stadiums, hotels,” he said. “We are not soliciting any such proposal. The mayor has said she will not be supportive.”

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Commissioners Rene Garcia, Eileen Higgins and Oliver Gilbert also said no freaking way. Higgins called it “a dangerous proposition” and said that Ruiz had been rude to critics and concerned residents on social media.

“This person is very active on Twitter, and actually is very, very rude to many of our residents on Twitter,” she said.

This is absolutely true. He calls people ignorant haters for simply asking questions and expressing concerns about some of his plans.

Ruiz, a UM booster, Coral Gables lawyer and founder of MSP Recovery, a healthcare reimbursement recovery firm, has been saying for months that his family will build a UM stadium closer to the campus. Their first idea was on the campus at Coral Gables High. That was scrapped rather quickly. But Ruiz is adamant.

Nevermind that UM doesn’t want it.

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When asked about it one day last month after practice, UM Athletic Director Dan Radakovich said that he had no complaints about the Hard Rock Stadium, where UM is still under contract to play at for another 11 years.

“We have a great relationship with Hard Rock Stadium,’’ Radakovich told reporters. “That’s first and foremost. They really help us with our program and we’re very proud to play there.”

He also said he is more interested in raising funds for an on-campus “football operations center” that the team can use year-round.

“So our focus right now is not as much where we play those seven games a year,” Radakovich said. “Our focus is on those 358 days a year that our student-athletes are here getting instruction, having nutrition, weight room, sports medicine. We’re focusing on that right now, not where we might be able to play.”

They probably also don’t want to alienate half the community with an ugly public land grab.

And aren’t a good number of season ticket holders living in Broward, with a few outliers in Palm Beach? The Hard Rock is in Miami Gardens, right by the Broward County line. Wouldn’t these fans be less willing to drive into the belly of Miami-Dade? Isn’t that a more central location for fans?

Of course, this is not really about a stadium, is it? This is more about the real estate hustle — the two hotels and the restaurant on the “observation deck” and the merchandise store and sports medicine complex that is apparently thrown in to entice UM.

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Souto said he wished that Ruiz would just come out “into the open” already so that the county can reject his proposal. Before he leaves in November due to term limits, Souto may suggest legislation that would protect parks from private development.

According to Assistant County Attorney Melanie Spencer, the huge stadium and other plans do not confirm to the county’s master plan or Article 7 of the Miami-Dade charter because of the size and the private use. A referendum would be required, she said.

Ruiz, who built his empire from the La Ley late night personal injury TV law advice show, has known that all along. He is counting on a referendum and he saw how the Miami Freedom Park developers won theirs in the city of Miami. That, too, is not really about the soccer stadium. It is about the offices and hotel and retail village around it.

But even if Ruiz is able to fool the voters with a ton of money thrown at a yes campaign, the commission still has to change the zoning and approve any site plan. And at least right now, they don’t seem willing to.

Souto said that what Ruiz is doing on twitter and in select interviews was “psychological warfare,” and that he was “invading the people’s minds with all this venom.”

Maybe this lack of interest from all stakeholders involved is the antidote.

But late Thursday, Ruiz was still raging on Twitter about how wonderful and positive his project is and how all the questions and critics are stupid. He also seemed unswayed by the three commissioners who are against it.

“I know most of the commissioners. They are all honorable people that will listen to the entire project. They are like judges, they listen then decide. If not then they aren’t doing their job and will lose the next election. It’s that simple.”

Was there a threat there?

“You have provided incorrect facts,” he lashed out at another handle. “Let me make something very clear, I am not intimidated by any commissioner or anyone from the press. I deal with true facts. Reason why I receive support is bc I do what I say and have no hidden agendas.

“I also hate politics!”