Developer Charles Cohen offers cash reward for source of racist claims

Cohen wants to build an office tower with up to 400,000 sf on the site

Rendering of "tent site" on Okeechobee Boulevard and South Dixie Highway Inset: Charles S. Cohen (Credit: Getty Images)
Rendering of "tent site" on Okeechobee Boulevard and South Dixie Highway Inset: Charles S. Cohen (Credit: Getty Images)

Billionaire real estate developer Charles S. Cohen is determined to uncover who’s behind a campaign against him and his proposal to develop the city-owned downtown “tent site” on Okeechobee Boulevard and South Dixie Highway.

Earlier this month, West Palm’s city commission office received 14 calls asking the city to prevent Cohen from developing the site, claiming he “discriminates against African Americans,” 14 callers said in similar words, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Cohen, a developer and film producer who also owns the Design Center of the Americas in Dania Beach and other property in West Palm, is offering a cash reward of $25,000 to whomever can “provide valid, relevant and credible information and evidence which materially assists in helping us to confirm and expose the wrongdoers,” he said in a statement. He called the July 11 phone calls “patently false, ugly and unprovoked slander” and set up a timeline for tipsters, the Palm Beach Post reported.

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The city will re-issue a request for proposals for the property after it receives the results of a traffic study.

In March, Cohen submitted a unsolicited proposal to build an office tower with up to 400,000 square feet on the 2.4-acre site, which is near CityPlace, the convention center, Clematis Street and the waterfront.

The developer’s firm, Cohen Brothers Property Group, owns 12 million square feet of property in New York, California, Texas and Florida. [Palm Beach Post] – Amanda Rabines