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Investor claims blackmail tied to sale of Oceana Bal Harbour site in 2012

Resident Doug Rudolph fired back, filed suit Tuesday seeking $25M in damages
March 09, 2017 12:45PM

Rendering of Oceana and an aerial view of the construction site. Inset: Bal Harbour resident Doug Rudolph

A real estate investor who cut a $1.15 million check to an influential Bal Harbour resident for his help in upzoning the Oceana Bal Harbour site back in 2012 is claiming the resident didn’t hold up his end of the bargain – and that he was extorted.

Joseph Imbesi, a real estate investor from Philadelphia, publicly claimed at a Bal Harbour Village Council meeting last year that Doug Rudolph, a resident and restaurateur, shook him down for the $1.15 million. Imbesi is alleging that Rudolph, who owns the Tap 42 restaurant chain, promised to secure the upzoning of the Oceana site before Imbesi’s Bal Harbour Club Inc. sold it to developer Eduardo Costantini for $220 million in 2012.

Imbesi also says that Rudolph promised to not block approval of another project at the marina – all in exchange for the $1.15 million, according to the Miami Herald. Rudolph is now opposing Imbesi’s plans to operate the marina and build single-family homes on the adjacent land, which could block Rudolph’s water views. (Imbesi is suing Bal Harbour over the right to operate the marina.)

Rudolph alleges the check was for a legitimate consulting fee for helping sell the beach club. He filed a lawsuit Tuesday, claiming breach of contract and defamation, the Herald reported. He’s also seeking $25 million in damages.

Oceana‘s sales director Ernesto Cohan, who brokered the land sale in 2012 to Consultatio, told the Herald he wasn’t aware of Rudolph’s consulting role, but that he met with him because of Imbesi.

Oceana Bal Harbour, meanwhile, is expected to have the biggest sellout of any condo project in South Florida at $1.3 sellout. It opened in November. [Miami Herald] – Katherine Kallergis