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Braman makes appeal to legislators to reject casino bill

Surrounded by all three Cabinet members, a senator and legislators, Miami auto magnate Norman Braman joined a chorus of business groups Tuesday at a press conference to urge legislators to reject the destination resort casino bill and promised to help finance a statewide television campaign to oppose it.

"Casino gambling is not compatible with a quality of life of a community – whether it’s a community like Miami or the state of Florida and the evidence can be seen through the United States,'' he said. "Let these people take their wares and take it somewhere else. We don’t need a malignant situation in our state.”

Braman compared the quality of life in communities that have allowed casinos and said they are not the model Miami and Florida should follow. He said he has contributed to No Casinos but wouldn’t disclose how much. “But as you know, I’ve never been embarrassed to write a check so I’m prepared, as always, to put my money where my mouth is.”

Braman said he met with Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson and Genting lobbyist, former U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz Balart, brought the Genting officials to meet him. They told him that with a resort casino so close, Braman could sell more cars.

“It’s not about cars,'' Braman said indignantly. "I live here. My kids are here. My grandkids are here in this community. This is quality of life to me here. It’s not selling automobiles. You people are takers. You don’t give anything to a community. All you do is take.”

He held the Saturday edition of the Miami Herald and pointed to the headline on the decline in federal unemployment numbers which reads: “Jobs crisis turns corner."

"We don’t need this,'' Braman said. "It’s fools gold. Quick fixes never work.”

Also speaking in opposition to the bill were Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Atwater, Agriculture Commissioner Pam Bondi, former House speaker and now chamber lobbyist Larry Cretul, Sens. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, and Anitere Flores, R-Miami, Reps. Stephen Precourt, R-Orlando, and Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples.

Braman dismissed the new poll out of Quinnipiac University. “Honestly, they just don’t understand,'' he said. "I’ve noticed a change, a great change.”