Developer cleared of lobbying law violations

Robert Wennett part of team awarded convention center redevelopment
February 18, 2014 11:15AM

Robert Wennett and Jonah Wolfson

A member of the development team awarded the $1 billion Miami Beach Convention Center redevelopment that has since been scrapped did not violate city lobbying laws.

Robert Meyers, former leader of Miami-Dade County’s Commission on Ethics and the Public Trust, had been hired by the city to investigate Robert Wennett. Commissioner Jonah Wolfson had asked for Wennett, part of the South Beach ACE group, to be prohibited from doing business with Miami Beach. Wolfson claimed Wennett failed to register as a lobbyist before speaking to Miami Beach commissioners about a Lincoln Road maintenance agreement.

Meyers did not agree, writing in his report that “a company or its representative may not be required to register as a lobbyist to negotiate extensions or amendments to an existing contract that are contemplated under the original agreement.”

After November’s elections shook up the City Commission, a different process for awarding the convention center project was conceived. New proposals are expected to be significantly scaled back at a much cheaper project cost. [Miami Herald]Eric Kalis