WASHINGTON (AP) — When President Bush visits Miami on Monday, he might not
want to take a spin around the radio dial. Chances are he'll get an earful.
A nonprofit organization financed by Florida ports operator Eller & Co. has
purchased ads on four radio stations that criticize the administration's
initial support for a business deal that shifted operation of several U.S. port
terminals, including the Port of Miami, to a company owned by the government of
"Mr. President, why did you let the United Arab Emirates, an enemy of Israel
and friend and trading partner of Iran, take over our ports," the one-minute
ad states. "Welcome to Miami, Mr. President, but please don't allow the emir
of Dubai to control the operations and security of our port. Please don't
endanger our families. You took an oath to protect us, please honor your oath."
The government-owned Dubai Ports World acquired operation of U.S. port
terminals earlier this year as part of its acquisition of Peninsular and Oriental
Steam Navigation. Following an outcry in Congress over placing an Arab-owned
company in charge of security-sensitive U.S. port terminals, Dubai Ports
announced in March that it would sell the U.S. terminals to a U.S.-owned firm
Deutsche Bank, which is handling the sale, provided potential bidders with
information last week. The final sale is not expected until the fall.
Alan Neigher, a lawyer for Eller and chairman of Portsforus.org, which paid
for the ads on four Miami radio stations, said they're intended to remind the
public that while the furor over the ports deal has subsided, the fate of the
ports remains in question. Neigher described the ad buy as modest, in the
"low five figures."
Continental Stevedoring & Terminals, an Eller subsidiary, has filed suit in
Florida contending the initial sale of P&O to the Dubai-owned firm violated
contracts between partners at the Port of Miami. A judge this week dismissed
some portions of the suit, but let others stand for further litigation.
The ads are running over the weekend and on Monday. Bush plans to be in
Florida Sunday and Monday. His trip includes a tour of the Port of Miami.
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