Company Suing Florida Over Cuba, Syria Ties Law
A Florida law that bans state and local governments from doing business with firms with economic links to Cuba and Syria is unconstitutional, according to a lawsuit by a Coral Gables-based subsidiary of a Brazilian engineering conglomerate.
Odebrecht Construction Inc., which has been involved in more than $3.9 billion in state and local government contracts since 1990, contends in the lawsuit that the power to set U.S. foreign policy rests with the federal government, not individual states. The measure was signed into law last month by Gov. Rick Scott and takes effect July 1.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in Miami federal court, also contends that the Florida-based Odebrecht subsidiary is “remote and distant” from another subsidiary working on a project to expand Cuba’s port of Mariel. Under the law, that project could jeopardize Odebrecht’s work in Florida. The law applies to projects worth $1 million or more.
“The Cuba amendment appears to penalize companies that do not themselves have business operations in Cuba if those companies have subsidiary corporations, parent corporations or sibling corporations that conduct business operations in Cuba,” wrote Odebrecht’s lawyers, who include former state Supreme Court Justice Raoul Cantero.