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US – Florida billionaire moves to block Miami casino development

By - 6 April 2020

Miami residents, neighbourhood and homeowners’ associations, and businesses—including some founded by Florida billionaire businessman Norman Braman—have brought a legal action to stop a back door deal between City officials and a local development group paving the way for casino gambling throughout the City of Miami.

Mr. Braman said: “The latest filing is a motion to intervene in the federal case in which a bogus lawsuit was ‘settled’ through a sweetheart deal and as an end around the zoning code. The City and West Flagler were on the same side,leaving Miami citizens on the outside whose interests were otherwise trampled on by City officials.”

The motion filed by Mr. Braman and other Miami residents property owners seeking to make certain that the federal court does not enforce any “settlement” while the residents’ state court lawsuit proceeds to invalidate the underlying interpretation of City code on which the federal “settlement” explicitly relies.

“We regret to be forced to file this motion to protect the right of all Miami residents to have a say as to whether Miami should allow gambling,” said Norman Braman, who has opposed gambling and championed voter participation in Miami for over 30 years. “But we have an obligation to preserve our rights,” he continued. “West Flagler’s claimed right to have a jai alai fronton in Edgewater is a 2012 letter issued in secret and obtained without any notice or process. If the City of Miami is going to allow gambling—and I’ve long said it should not—then notice must be given to Miami’s residents so that they can have a meaningful say and hold elected officials responsible.”

“It’s unfortunate that the City Attorney and West Flagler entered into this settlement approving a gambling facility in the midst of the ongoing health crisis. But the pandemic will not prevent Miami’s citizens from protecting their quality of life or from ensuring the City’s long-term prosperity. We will take those actions necessary to protect our rights, and we hope the City Attorney and West Flagler refrain from further action towards advancing a gambling facility while the public is focused on more important issues.”

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