The Real Deal Miami

Miami-Dade commissioners: stop picking on Miami for money laundering

Dissenters of resolution said Panama Papers reports were reason for concern

April 06, 2016 11:15AM

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A December 2011 photo of Miami's skyline (Credit: John Spade)

A December 2011 photo of Miami’s skyline (Credit: John Spade)

Miami’s never been known for a squeaky clean image, and the recent publishing of the “Panama Papers” has only reinforced the city’s status as a haven for secretive real estate deals and money laundering.

But the Miami-Dade County commission seems to think otherwise. Commissioners reportedly passed a symbolic resolution Tuesday to “express concern” over the federal government’s tracking of luxury real estate purchases in Miami-Dade and Manhattan.

According to the Miami Herald, the resolution was sponsored weeks ago by commissioner Sally Heyman, whose district includes wealthy enclaves like North Bay Village, Bay Harbor Islands, Sunny Isles Beach and Golden Beach.

She said the Treasury Department’s tracking of $1 million-and-up cash home purchases should include other luxury markets along the coast, not just Miami and Manhattan, the Herald reported. Because of the widely publicized federal scrutiny, Heyman said she’s seen real estate agents from Broward and Palm Beach counties try to poach business from Miami by saying their markets don’t ask questions.

The symbolic objection passed 13 to three, with dissenters including Chairman Jean Monestime, commissioner Daniella Levine Cava and commissioner Barbara Jordan.

Cava and Jordan said the recent Panama Papers reports, a massive investigation spawned from a leak of 11.5 million documents from Panamian law firm Mossack Fonseca, were reasons for concern.

“This series really helps to showcase what a haven we are for ill-gotten gains,” Cava said, according to the Herald. “It’s also been detrimental for our housing market, because it has driven up the prices.” [Miami Herald]Sean Stewart-Muniz