The Real Deal Miami

Russian developer who pitched Trump’s Moscow tower has South Florida ties

Felix Sater was the driving force behind what is now the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach
August 30, 2017 03:52PM

Rendering of the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach, Felix Sater and Donald Trump

The Moscow-born developer who pitched the development of a Trump Tower in Moscow and promised to get Donald Trump elected has ties to South Florida, according to a new report.

Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that real estate broker and developer Felix Sater emailed Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, to sell him on the proposed tower, writing in emails to Cohen that, “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it.”

Sater was also the driving force behind what is now the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach, a condo-hotel that will finally open in September, a decade after it was originally planned to open, according to the Miami Herald.

The project launched in 2004 as the Trump International Hotel & Tower. At the time, Sater was an executive at Bayrock Group, which the newspaper reported was “part of the team entrusted to bring the tower to life.” The developer had obtained a licensing agreement with the Trump Organization, but litigation resulted in the developer running out of money after spending $140 million on construction.

Sater’s criminal past was kept secret from investors because of his role as an FBI informant. Trump eventually distanced himself from Sater, who at one point used a Trump Organization business card.

Trump abandoned the Fort Lauderdale Beach deal in 2009. After years of delays and multiple lawsuits, another developer sold the project to Canadian developer Heafey Group for $100 million.

And now, Sater is part of the growing investigation into whether Trump’s team worked with the Russian government to win the 2016 election. [Miami Herald] – Katherine Kallergis