Miami-Dade County officials are questioning $1.7 million in expenses that baseball's Miami Marlins say should be credited to the team for its share of the construction costs of a new ballpark, the Miami Herald reports.
Under an agreement between the team and the county, the Marlins could spend up to $89.5 million on "soft costs" that would count toward their $120 million portion of the project.
They wound up spending $38.5 million in soft costs, but the county says the Marlins shouldn't have counted expenses like its cable bill, wine purchased for a party, and pillow cases used in an office as part of those soft costs.
“If I were the mayor, I’d certainly hire an outside group, forensic accountants, to look into this,” said Norman Braman, the auto magnate who aggressively fought construction of the stadium. An arbiter will ultimately rule on whether those items should count.
The disputed expenses are the latest controversy for the $634 million stadium and parking garage. More than 80 percent of the project's total costs was funded by public money, according to the Miami Herald, and the team gets to keep almost all the revenue the project generates.