The Real Deal Miami

Facing charges tied to Palm House project, lawyer sells Palm Beach Daily News Building

It marks the 2nd property Leslie Robert Evans sold since getting charged with using EB-5 funds to defraud investors in the failed condo-hotel project
By Katherine Kallergis | January 25, 2019 04:30PM

214 Brazilian Avenue and Leslie Robert Evans (Credit: CREXi)

An attorney facing charges connected to the failed Palm House condo-hotel project, sold the historic Palm Beach Daily News building, which has served as his law office.

Leslie Robert Evans sold the property at 214 Brazilian Avenue for $8 million through his R.D. of Palm Beach Inc., according to property records. The buyer of the 95-year-old Mediterranean Revival-style building is an LLC managed by Alex H. Griswold and the Palm Beach County Opportunity Fund. Griswold is managing partner of Armata Holdings, a real estate investment and management firm. The buyer financed the deal for the two-story building with a $7.5 million loan from an undisclosed lender.

Property records show Evans’ company paid $2.65 million for the building in 1995. It has about 9,300 square feet of office space, 19,000 square feet of retail space and a 260-space parking garage. In addition to Leslie Robert Evans & Associates, tenants include an art gallery, a barber shop and clothing stores.

Charged in March, Evans has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of fraud and money laundering tied to his alleged role in the Palm House condo-hotel project. The developer, Robert V. Matthews, also faces charges. The case against the two men will go to trial later this year. Prosecutors say Evans and Matthews used the federal EB-5 visa program to defraud foreign investors in the unfinished development, which is now being auctioned off.

In May, Evans sold a mixed-use apartment building at 249 Royal Poinciana Way to a company affiliated with Griswold, for about $4 million.