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Beckham's MLS Plans For Little Havana Hit Another Snag

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- Soccer star David Beckham's plans to bring Major League Soccer (MLS) to Miami have hit another snag, as his group's latest proposal to build a stadium next to Marlins Park baseball stadium appears to be in serious jeopardy.

Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho told CBS4's Gary Nelson a school board vote to pass the partnership along with the team has been postponed. Miami Beckham United would partner with the school system, fully at Beckham's expense, to create a stadium that would also provide learning programs for students and provide the stadium for school events at no charge.

The changes come days before a meeting with the MLS Board of Governors in which Beckham's team faces a deadline to present the publicly backed deal to build the $200 million stadium in Little Havana.  A source in Beckham's group told CBS4 News it is not inconceivable that MLS, after nearly two years of failed efforts to nail down a deal in South Florida, could kick Miami out of the soccer running.

Reps for the team blame the latest apparent failure to reach a stadium deal on small property owners who have a home, apartments and a business within the proposed stadium area. They are allegedly asking for astronomical payments for the land.

According to a Beckham United Source, the group has offered a daycare owner $1.8 million for his property and business that is appraised at $800,000.  The owner has demanded $15 million. Beckham's group says the owners of three small apartment buildings, appraised at $600,000 has turned down an offer six times that, $6 million, and is demanding $18 million instead. The owner of a small house, appraised at $178,000 has reportedly said he won't take a dime less than $1 million for the small home.

Beckham, a world renowned superstar who was recently named People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive, is also a shrewd businessman.  A source close to his group said Beckham will not be "shaken down" by owners who have been offered "very generous" payments for their property.

Manuel Freyre told CBS4 News Wednesday he did not want to discuss his reported million dollar demand for his house.  The owner of the daycare did not return messages, and CBS4 was unable to reach the owners of the apartment buildings.

Beckham and Major League Soccer announced plans for a team in Miami nearly two years ago.  Stadium sites on the bay – one at Port Miami and another by the American Airlines Arena – were shot down amid political heat.  A plan for the city of Miami to team up with Beckham at the Little Havana site by Marlins Park has gone nowhere.

A source close to Beckham's group said patience is running thin.  The source said the group is looking at a possible private parcel in the Overtown area of Miami, but would not elaborate.


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