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Marlins Get $110 Million Ballpark Offer

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MIAMI -- When the Florida Marlins won the World Series last month, the first question on many people's minds was, "When will they get a new stadium?" -- something the team has tried and failed to get for years.


After a deal was announced between the team and Miami-Dade County for $73 million in tourist tax money plus $137 million from the team, the question became, where will the remaining $115 million come from?


The Marlins may now have an answer.


On Friday, the nation's largest union-owned life insurance company said it is willing to loan more than $110 million toward a new stadium for the Marlins.


Terry O'Sullivan, chairman of the Union Labor Life Insurance Company, or ULLICO, said Thursday that the company will offer rates that could undercut conventional loans if the project creates a negotiated number of high-paying jobs.


The caveat is that the construction site would employ only union workers


Marlins President David Samson said that he couldn't comment on the proposal because he has not been contacted.


O'Sullivan said he wants to speak with the team next week, though the company can't discuss what it's prepared to offer until it finds out what the Marlins want.


The team had been weighing funding options to fund the new ballpark, projected to cost $325 million. The team and city officials are looking for locations for the planned 38,000-seat stadium with a retractable roof that would open in 2007.


City and state funding are being pursued, and state Rep. Gus Barreiro, R-Miami, who is bringing ULLICO and the club together, said he hopes the Marlins are open to new financing options, such as finding investors to pick up the loan tab.


"We can't expect taxpayers to pay all the cost," Barreiro said. "People are taxed enough, and they're sick of paying money to the government."


O'Sullivan is president of the 840,000-member Laborers' International Union of North America, which is one of dozens whose members pay into ULLICO.


ULLICO's $2.2 billion mortgage investment arm, called J for Jobs, invests in large projects to expand the union's base.


The company became mired in scandal early this year when it was learned that some former directors engaged in special stock trades that earned them almost $6 million in questionable profits. The federal government is investigating.


Samson says the Marlins need their own ballpark with a roof to remain financially stable. They currently lease Pro Player Stadium from former owner Wayne Huizenga. The Marlins want a new stadium to be ready for the 2007 season.


State Rep. Stacy Ritter, D-Coral Springs, plans to file a bill giving the Marlins a $2 million annual sales tax rebate to pay for about $60 million of the construction costs.

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this article is sooo old.


the ULLICO offer is a loan. the marlins' $137M contribution is already in the form of a loan... this does nothing to help the team.


representative gus barreiro was trying to cash in on the post-championship fervor by presenting the marlins with this ULLICO loan offer so he could appear to be pro-stadium. :lol

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