The Miami Marlins' new baseball stadium.
MIAMI, Florida (CBSMiami.com) - The Miami Marlins Stadium is nearing completion in Little Havana, but its controversial journey took a new turn Friday when the Securities and Exchange Commission opened an investigation into the finances underlying the stadium deal.
The Marlins refused to hand over the team's financial records for years and fought in court to prevent Miami billionaire Norman Braman from getting access to the records.
But those records, and the finances of Miami and Miami-Dade County, are just what the SEC is going to examine.
The Marlins' finances, which were eventually leaked to the website Deadspin.com, showed the Marlins were actually making tens of millions of dollars while claiming poverty during the negotiations of the cost they would shoulder for the new stadium.
Things took another turn over the weekend when the team handed out roughly $128 million in contracts to closer Heath Bell and shortstop Jose Reyes.
The Marlins have for years claimed poverty and had the lowest payroll in business.
The Marlins are also said to be the leading team to sign left-handed starting pitcher Mark Buehrle and are making a big push to sign free agent first baseman Albert Pujols.
Signing Pujols alone will cost the team at least $200 million over the next nine years.
So, the Marlins could sign upwards of $350 million worth of players in the coming days. However, the Marlins couldn't contribute more to the stadium deal.
It's a catch-22 for taxpayers. On the one hand, they don't want to pay so much for a stadium. On the other hand, by saving the money from paying for the stadium, the Marlins now have the ability to go out and sign the best players in baseball.