Judge approves Versace sale to creditor

Exultant winner Joe Nakash with Lamar Fisher (left) and Eli Gindi
Exultant winner Joe Nakash with Lamar Fisher (left) and Eli Gindi

A bankruptcy judge in Miami on Wednesday approved the $41.5 million purchase of the former Versace mansion by the Nakash family of Jordache jeans fame partnering with the Gindis, former owners of the Plaza Hotel’s Oak Room.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Laurel M. Isicoff approved the purchase by VM South Beach LLC. Joe Nakash, chairman of Jordache Enterprises, and New York real estate investor Eli Gindi, clenching a cigar, emerged from the auction, held in the courtyard of the highly decorated estate, as winner, besting competing bids by Donald Trump, who is renovating the Doral golf course, and Palm Beach club owner Glenn Straub. The Nakash family owns the Hotel Victor adjacent to the ornate mansion, which is planned as the Versace Hotel, pending approval from family of the slain fashion designer.

VM South Beach was the lead creditor in the Chapter 11 case of mansion owner Casa Casuarina LLC, which is backed by telecommunications entrepreneur Peter Loftin who said he was “thrilled” with the auction results.

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Attorneys for VM and Casa Casuarina told Isicoff that the sale price would be more than enough to repay all creditors in the bankruptcy case. The transaction must close in the next 20 days.

Isicoff also approved a settlement between Casa Casuarina and the trustee of Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein’s failed law firm Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler. The trustee will net $690,000 from the auction proceeds. The original claim was for $4.92 million.

The new buyers don’t plan to make any structural changes to the Ocean Drive landmark. “We will put up a plaque here for where he died,” Nakash told reporters, gesturing to the front steps, the scene of the designer’s 1997 shooting death. — Emily Schmall