”I Just Don’t See It.”


That’s Judge Echarte, shooting down a request by Bob Martinez for discovery into the financial health of the Marlins:

The Florida Marlins and Miami-Dade County won a slight victory in court Friday when Circuit Court Judge Pedro Echarte Jr. shot down several attempts to get Marlins President David Samson to disclose the ball club’s financial picture.

The two sides are readying for a July 1 court date, with auto dealer Norman Braman contending the $609 million stadium and parking garage plan — to be built with almost $500 million of public money — doesn’t benefit the public.

On Friday, Braman attorney Bob Martinez tried to get Echarte to compel Samson to answer dozens of questions the Marlins executive had waved off when he was deposed earlier this month.

Echarte shot that down, ruling that almost all of Martinez’s questions dealing with club finances weren’t relevant to the trial.

When Martinez tried to get Samson to hand over projections of attendance, the judge questioned whether such figures are paramount to the public purpose of a stadium. ”I just don’t see it,” Echarte said.

Both sides will be back in court most of this week setting witness questioning and attempting to narrow the proceedings so the trial doesn’t run too long. Echarte said he has vacation plans for most of July.

Am I missing something here? The “public purpose” of funneling hundreds of millions in tax revenue to a private business is not well-served if the private business is not profitable nor likely to be so for a period of years. A stadium built for a shaky financial entity that is obligated to partially fund the stadium and help maintain and operate it would be a total waste; just look at the old Miami Arena for just one of many examples of poor city planning (although I saw a great Dylan show there way back in ’87).We’ve all heard Samson cry and whine on Lebby’s show about how badly the Marlins are doing financially without a publicly-financed stadium in the picture, but now he refuses to answers questions at a deposition about this very topic? I guess we’re stuck with his mediocre and stunningly pedestrian movie reviews instead.

I also don’t get the Judge’s ruling if it is based — as it appears to be — entirely on relevancy grounds. Something has to be completely way off-base for the entire topic to be excluded from discovery on relevancy grounds. Were there other grounds raised?