ENTERTAINMENT

Gloria Estefan blasts Miami Stadium group: My credibility, reputation 'have been put into question'

VIRGINIA KEY, FL –  Gloria Estefan has publicly supported the plan to restore the Miami Marine Stadium, but now she says the non-profit, Friends of Miami Marine Stadium, was not completely honest with its intentions.

Earlier this year, Estefan endorsed the project and donated $500,000 to renovate the now run-down landmark on Virginia Key, but the star is now saying some of the details of that renovation were a surprise to her and left her in the dark.

Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado said the main priority and focus of the city is getting the abandoned stadium up and running again. "Having Gloria as the lead person and as the face of the renovation of the marine stadium is what's going to make the renovation a reality," said Regalado.

Estefan wrote a letter to commissioners this week blasting the non-profit group raising private funds for the project. She said the extensive development behind the site and the plan came as a complete surprise. 

"I was shocked to learn, following the city commission meeting on November 20, 2014, that the Friends of Miami Marine Stadium's intentions were not simply to restore the stadium but also to extensively develop the site," Estefan's letter read.

At the last minute, Friends of Miami Marine Stadium quietly slipped into the proposal about $90 million in privately funded commercial development around the stadium and the inclusion of members of the group as architects for the project, according to The Miami Herald. Estefan said she was kept in the dark about these changes and was taken aback by them.

"As the public face and spokesperson for the restoration of the Miami Marine Stadium, I feel that my credibility and reputation have been put into question merely by my presumed association with the plan," she said in her letter.

Regalado agreed. "We believe she was right in saying she was not informed," he said. "We were not informed, and we were a little blind-sided."

The amount needed to renovate the stadium is now $30 million rather than the original $121 million, which was rolled back because of financing issues.

Mayor Regalado said the renovations of the stadium will have to take a backseat to the Miami International Boat Show, which has committed to moving to the site on Key Biscayne from Miami Beach, providing it's ready by December 2015.

"It needs to be done correctly in a way that is transparent and in a way that the City of Miami is not put in a position where it makes a bad business deal, once again," said Miami Commissioner Frank Carollo.

"There is nothing like this [stadium] anywhere," said Estefan, "so it would be foolhardy of us to give up something so easily that makes us so unique."

One thing everyone seems to agree on: the Miami Marine Stadium is worth saving.

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