Gwen Graham’s American Dream Mall Investment Becomes Campaign Issue

Gwen Graham’s American Dream Mall Investment Becomes Campaign Issue

Gubernatorial candidate Jeff Greene followed the most recent Democratic primary debate with a campaign advertisement attacking Gwen Graham’s role in the $4 billion American Dream mall slated to be built in west Miami-Dade County.

The advertisement, shown below, began running Thursday night.

Also, during the debate, candidate Chris King questioned Graham’s environmental positions by highlighting her multi-million-dollar investment in the Graham Companies and the family firm’s involvement in the American Dream mall.

King said the mall was “on the edge of the Everglades.” He added, “You can’t make this stuff up.”

The project has been covered extensively by the media in South Florida. The coverage included a report by Jim DeFede with CBS4 Miami. DeFede wrote an article after an interview with Graham titled the “American Dream Mall Could Become a Graham Nightmare.”

In the report, Kimberly Mitchell, executive director, of the Everglades Trust said, “while we are fighting like the dickens to ensure the survival of the Everglades and the source of drinking water for eight million Floridians, mega-developers and projects like these continue to put it all at risk,”

DeFede reported that “The Graham Companies owns a critical piece of the 175 acres of land where the mall would be built in northwest Miami-Dade County. In addition, The Graham Companies have been given approval to develop an additional 300 acres of land around the project.”

Almost all of Gwen Graham’s wealth is derived from The Graham Companies. In her financial disclosure forms she filed for 2017, she estimated the value of her holdings in the company as $13.7 million. In addition, she reported $829,625 in income from The Graham Companies in 2017.

The Sun Sentinel reported that Graham “resigned from the company’s board and placed her company holdings in a trust when she was elected to Congress in 2014. She also pledged to remove the Governor’s Office from any issues surrounding the mall and let them be decided by the remaining members of the Cabinet — the Attorney General, the Agriculture Commissioner and the state’s Chief Financial Officer.”

During the DeFede interview, Graham was asked three times if the development was a good idea, but she refused to provide a direct answer.

Graham said in an interview with South Florida newspaper editorial page editors that the ad uses footage of her that is heavily edited. “It’s a negative ad so he’s trying to make me look bad,” she said, adding that there are “many environmentalists and people who have been speaking out about that ad and saying it’s just false and full of lies.”

Greene said it isn’t an attack ad. “We’re not saying anything; we’re just reprinting the news,” he said.

Here the facts on the mall as reported by the Sun-Sentinel:

The proposed mall would dwarf the malls that exist in America today and would add some twists: a submarine ride, indoor ski slope, water park, theme park, sports complex, outdoor fishing and theaters.

Backers have said the $4 billion development represents a “tremendous economic development project” bringing 25,000 permanent jobs and creating opportunities for small businesses.

American Dream Miami is proposed on 174 acres in the vacant triangle between I-75 and the Florida Turnpike’s Homestead Extension. The 6.2 million-square-foot project includes 2.7 million square feet of entertainment and common space, plus the shopping. In addition, a 2,000-bed hotel would be built.

Graham Companies proposes to develop 337 acres just south of it into a 3 million square foot business park, with 1 million square feet of retail space and 2,000 residential apartments. That growth would slowly take place over 20 years, representatives have said.

Broward leaders, particularly in Miramar, fear the new tourist attraction could clog roads in the southwest part of the county.

The project teams spent “countless hours” working with government staffers to take care of the expected impacts on roads, parks, sewers, fire rescue service, and more, Graham Companies attorney Joseph Goldstein said in April.

4 Responses to "Gwen Graham’s American Dream Mall Investment Becomes Campaign Issue"

  1. Don’t be too impressed with Ms. Graham:
    She is on the ethics board only so she can remain politically visible until she can run for something else. Her interest is not in improving ethics in city government, but in advancing her own political agenda.
    Her political experience is one two year term in Congress, a hotbed of unethical political activity and lobbyist influence. It’s a place to learn deal making and self promotion. It’s most definitely not a place to learn government ethics.
    The Tallahassee Democrat is totally in the Graham organization’s pocket, so they won’t be printing anything adverse about her.
    She should be replaced with a citizen with no political ambition.

  2. Gwen Graham is totally lacking in integrity. She cares about nothing but herself and getting her way. She supposedly backed Hanna because the Democratic Party asked him to run for Senator and she was second choice ( this info came from a high ranking Democrat). What a petty egomaniac.

  3. Why would anyone believe anything Gwen Graham says…umm, she won’t comment or even be asked questions about Rocky Hanna’s $600,000 misuse of tax dollars when he admitted he had no first hand knowledge of any wrongdoing but hey don’t worry Rocky is on the record saying he would make it up all over again if he had to.

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