Controversial Centner Academy owners revealed as buyers of $28M Palm Island mansion

The couple sold properties in Miami Beach a month earlier for $35M

David and Celia Centner with the Palm Island mansion (Getty, Compass)
David and Celia Centner with the Miami Beach mansion (Getty, Compass)

David and Leila Centner, owners of the controversial Centner Academy in the Miami Design District, are the buyers of a Miami Beach mansion that traded in August for $28.3 million, The Real Deal has learned.

A company led by Armando Simosa sold the waterfront Palm Island home to a trust, records show. Sources confirmed the buyers are the Centners.

A month earlier, the couple sold two waterfront properties on Pine Tree Drive in Miami Beach to billionaire Rockstar Energy Drink founder Russell Weiner for $35.1 million.

The Centners received national media coverage when they threatened to fire teachers at their Centner Academy if they received a Covid-19 vaccine before the end of the 2021 school year, the New York Times and other news outlets reported. The school also required students who received the vaccine to quarantine for 30 days, but ended up walking back on that decision, according to Local 10. For its anti-vax reasoning, the school cited false information about vaccines which has been debunked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Leila Centner did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The eight-bedroom, seven-and-a-half-bathroom mansion, spanning nearly 11,000 square feet, sits on a double lot. It includes a home theater, chef’s kitchen and a separate pool house with double cabanas and a full gym, according to the listing.

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Liz Hogan of Compass represented the seller, and Oscar De La Rosa of Endeavor represented the buyers, according to

De La Rosa, a Hialeah city council member, is the stepson of Hialeah’s mayor-elect Esteban “Steve” Bovo. The Centners hosted a campaign fundraiser for Bovo at their Centner Academy, the Miami New Times reported.

The Palm Island sale was recorded in the Multiple Listing Service as $30 million, which could include commissions or other fees. The county recorded the price at $28.3 million.

Hogan, a top agent at Compass who has been involved in a number of deals on Palm Island, declined to comment on the deal. De La Rosa also declined to comment.

The 1.4-acre Palm Island property was listed just before the pandemic briefly shut down business in South Florida, and it returned to the market earlier this year for $29.9 million.

It previously sold for $14.2 million in 2011, records show. A small portion of the house was built in 1925 and the majority was added in 2003.

The Centners’ neighbors on Palm Island include venture capital investor Ben Ling and his partner, front-end web developer Chris Coudron, who paid $29.5 million in September for the waterfront mansion at 135 Palm Avenue. In August, former boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. bought a mansion on the island for $18 million.