The Real Deal Miami

DNC deems Jackie Soffer no-go to host POTUS, gives Craig Robins thumbs up: Wikileaks

Past litigation related to Turnberry's failed Fontainebleau Las Vegas cited in DNC internal emails

July 25, 2016 05:15PM
By Ina Cordle

  • Print

Jackie Soffer, President Barack Obama and Craig Robins

Two Miami real estate heavy hitters, Craig Robins and Jackie Soffer, are named in a trove of emails exchanged between Democratic National Committee officials that was just released by Wikileaks.

The internal email chain between DNC officials and others relate to vetting Robins, president and CEO of Miami-based Dacra, and his wife Soffer, co-chairman and CEO of Aventura-based Turnberry Associates, to host President Barack Obama during a visit to Miami that was tentatively scheduled for June 3.

On Friday, WikiLeaks leaked nearly 20,000 emails from top DNC officials, dated January 2015 through May 2016. The source of the leak has not been revealed, though Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager has said publicly that he believes Russian hackers were involved.

The email chain regarding Robins and Soffer details investigations of both individuals, including past litigation surrounding Turnberry’s failed Fontainbleau Las Vegas resort and casino project and Robins’ litigation with his partners related to a private jet.

Robins passed muster. Soffer did not. Robert Wennett, who developed 1111 Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, was given the green light to act as a POTUS host, according to the emails:

“We were asked to vet the following for potential POTUS hosts,” Kevin Snowden wrote to several officials at 11:33 a.m. on May 12. “Robert Wennett passes vet. Jackie Soffer and Craig Robins both are issues. They were passed by DNC vet committee in 2012 to attend a DWS Chef’s event. They both have their own lawsuits which they ended up settling and paying large amounts, especially Jackie.”

Three minutes later, Alan Reed wrote: “I’d say no to hosting for Soffer but I could be ok (sic) with Robins. I defer to Bobby [Schmuck] though.”

Clayton Cox, regional finance director of Florida, Georgia & Midwest for the DNC, responded at 1:38 pm in the last email in the leaked chain: “Craig and Jackie are married and would be hosting together. We could potentially only put one of them on the invite?”

It’s not clear if a decision was made to refrain from asking either of them to host. Cox did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Robins told The Real Deal on Monday that neither he nor his wife were aware of the emails nor the vetting process. He said he was never approached to host a fundraising event, nor did he ask to host one. 

“They never contacted me or Jackie, so it must have been just an internal process,” Robins said. He said he is registered as an independent, and is not a major donor to any party, though he thinks Obama is doing a great job.

“I’m not on their radar screen,” he said, despite all evidence to the contrary.