In case you missed it, the Miami New Times did a great piece a few weeks back on the growing opposition to the giveaway of public land planned for the Genting Casino /Herald site.
Joe Carollo‘s Chevy Impala idles at a red light on North Bayshore Drive at NE 14th Street. Dressed in a neat white polo shirt tucked into pressed khaki pants, the former Miami mayor is on a short tour of what could be the most ambitious redevelopment project in the city’s history. “Here is where the Genting Group wants to put a fountain,” he says with a scowl.
The light turns green. As Carollo cruises toward 1 Herald Plaza, he points to the perimeter of the Miami Herald‘s employee parking lots. “Those sidewalks belong to the city,” Carollo asserts. “In their promotional video, Genting is building over them and this street I’m driving on.”
He makes a left past the Omni Metromover station. “That land is owned by the taxpayers too,” Carollo declares, gesturing toward the station. “In their presentation, Genting’s big lagoon starts where that bus depot and the Metromover station are located.” By his calculation, the Malaysian gaming giant’s planned megacasino resort will gobble up six acres of publicly owned land and millions of dollars more in air rights. That’s on top of the 13.9 acres including the Herald‘s waterfront headquarters purchased in May for $236 million and the recently garnered control of the cavernous Omni property for a cool $206 million.
Carollo is part of a growing wave of people — including two other ex-Miami mayors, one of the city’s most prominent attorneys, and a top developer — to begin building roadblocks to Genting’s $3 billion plan. Citing the company’s reputed ties to an organized-crime figure, a mysterious trip that Miami’s current mayor and his pro-gambling consigliere took to the Far East, and the possible giveaway of more than $100 million in public land, Carollo contends Genting’s project is a disaster in the making. Complicating matters further is the Herald‘s role in reporting on a deal involving its longtime home. As demonstrated by some of the newspaper’s recent effusive coverage of Genting’s proposal, the Herald — which employs more reporters than anyone else in town — is severely conflicted.