A pop-up private marina behind a commercial developer’s home in Coconut Grove is disrupting Ransom Everglades’ aquatic learning experiences, according to a recently filed lawsuit.
The private school is suing Caroline Weiss, CEO of the Weiss Group of Companies, in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, in an attempt to stop her from allowing private boats from docking along the seawall of her nearly 2-acre estate at 3187 Royal Road. It neighbors the Ransom Everglades campus.
John Shubin, the lawyer for the school, said Ransom Everglades has a policy of not commenting on pending litigation.
Weiss’ attorney Michael Schlesinger said his client plans to vigorously fight the lawsuit. He also criticized the timing of the complaint, noting it was filed a few days before Ransom Everglades and Weiss were to have a mediation meeting in connection with a separate lawsuit she filed against the school.
“My client is a tough lady who has a reputation all of her life for standing up against bullies,” Schlesinger said. “And she has no plans to stop now.”
According to the school’s lawsuit, Weiss recently began operating a small-scale marina operation by allowing boaters to rent space along the southern side of her property that abuts a canal.
The complaint contains photographs taken on Sept. 30 showing at least a half dozen boats by the seawall of her estate. Ransom claims the vessels are unlawfully docked and pose a navigational and safety hazard for school staff and students that traverse the canal to enter Biscayne Bay.
“Since its inception, Ransom has viewed Biscayne Bay as an extension of the classroom, and has developed a full suite of experiential learning opportunities by sailing, kayaking, canoeing, snorkeling, testing water samples, and learning navigational skills,” the complaint states. “Ransom instructors also frequently take their classes out on powerboats to study and explore Biscayne Bay.”
The lawsuit alleges Weiss is violating a 1965 agreement that stated that neither the Ransom property nor her estate would hinder use of the canal.
Weiss sued Ransom Everglades in 2018 to stop the school from implementing its special area plan through a permanent injunction. In her lawsuit, Weiss alleged Ransom Everglades reneged on an agreement to support the closure of Royal Road. The special area plan would allow Ransom Everglades to expand its total lot area to 801,319 square feet, as well as increase its maximum student enrollment, staff size and number of parking spaces.