The Real Deal Miami

Mexican congressman spent millions on luxury condos in South Florida

He's also held various positions with Latin America's largest and most powerful teachers' union

April 18, 2016 01:30PM

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Espirito Santo Plaza

Espirito Santo Plaza

On the heels of the “Panama Papers” investigation, a new report shows an official of Mexico’s teachers’ union and his relatives went on a condo spending spree starting in 2004, dropping $6.3 million on 11 condos at the former Espirito Santo Plaza in the Brickell neighborhood and more throughout South Florida. 

Mexican congressman Bernardo Quezada Salas, his wife, sister-in-law and brother-in-law seemingly paid cash for the units at the high-rise, at 1395 Brickell Avenue. Quezada Salas has also held various positions with the National Education Workers’ Union,  the largest, most powerful and reportedly corrupt in Latin America with 1.4 million members, according to the Miami Herald.

The newspaper reported that Quezada Salas’ salary would not have been nearly enough to pay for one unit, let alone the 14 that Florida entities tied to him and his family members acquired between 2004 and 2008. The congressman has not reportedly been tied to crimes or accusations, and he was not mentioned in the “Panama Papers,” an investigation that analyzed a data leak of 11.5 million documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which specializes in setting up foreign shell companies for the world’s rich and powerful.

Quezada Salas has been tied to the daughter of the union’s president, Elba Esther Gordillo. Gordilla, who’s known as “La Maestra,” was arrested for embezzlement and organized crime in 2013, according to the Herald. Quezada Salas was reportedly close to Gordillo’s youngest daughter, who recently died of brain cancer.

At the Espirito Santo Plaza, Quezada Salas’s family controlled 10 percent of the 36-story tower’s units. Coral Gables attorney Frank Segredo, who has been disbarred over unrelated mortgage fraud, set up the companies, and told the Miami Herald he had no memory of the deals, working with Quezada Salas or his family.

They also bought at the Setai in South Beach, and Jade Beach in Sunny Isles Beach. [Miami Herald] – Katherine Kallergis