Caroline Weiss beats daughter in suit over Blue Lagoon dev site

Miami-Dade judge determined Adeena Weiss Ortiz’s claims were not credible

 Adeena Weiss Ortiz and the development site at 4865 Northwest 7th Street in Miami (Weiss Ortiz; Google Maps)
Adeena Weiss Ortiz and the development site at 4865 Northwest 7th Street in Miami (Weiss Ortiz; Google Maps)

After eight years, Caroline Weiss won a legal civil war with her daughter, who contested her mother’s ownership of a prime development site in Miami’s Blue Lagoon neighborhood.

Following a non-jury trial nine months ago, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Migna Sanchez-Llorens on Monday ruled in Weiss’ favor. The judge determined that her eldest child, Chicago-based lawyer Adeena Weiss Ortiz, has no claim to a vacant 7-acre assemblage on Northwest Seventh Street and Northwest 48th Avenue in Miami.

Weiss Ortiz already filed an appeal, according to the court docket. Her lawyer, Maurice Baumgarten, declined comment. Her mother’s attorney, Michael Schlesinger, also declined comment.

Weiss and her other daughter, Alitza Weiss, are principals of Weiss Group of Companies, which had plans to develop the Blue Lagoon site. In 2019, Weiss Group proposed a mixed-use project with two hotels and a multifamily component after the city of Miami approved the company’s request to double the assemblage’s maximum building height from eight to 16 stories.

Alitza Weiss

Alitza Weiss

Recently, Caroline Weiss and Alitza Weiss listed a large vacant portion of their 1.6-acre waterfront homestead in Coconut Grove for $59 million.

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Schlesinger previously said Weiss was in the process of forming a joint venture to build the project or another type of development at the Blue Lagoon site. He did not identify the potential partner.

In 2014, Weiss Ortiz sued her mom and several entities controlled by Caroline Weiss that own the development site. Weiss Ortiz accused Caroline Weiss of illegally transferring ownership of the properties to herself, away from her and her sister Alitza Weiss, without Weiss Ortiz’s consent in the early 2000s, her complaint states. Caroline Weiss and Alitza Weiss denied the allegations in affidavits admitted into court last year.

In dismissing the Weiss Ortiz lawsuit, Judge Sanchez-Llorens determined the plaintiff’s claims that her mother originally deeded the property to entities controlled by her and her sister Alitza in 1995 after their father died were not credible.

Sanchez-Llorens found that Weiss Ortiz provided inconsistent sworn testimony, and did not present any documentary evidence to prove her case, the judge’s order states. The statute of limitations had also expired on Weiss Ortiz’s ability to make a legal claim for the Blue Lagoon assemblage, Sanchez-Llorens concluded.

“The undisputed facts show Caroline retained sole possession of the original stock certificates, treated the Blue Lagoon entities and the property as her own and intended to bequeath
her assets to her daughters at her death,” Sanchez-Llorens wrote. “Adeena never questioned Caroline’s actions in controlling the Blue Lagoon Entities until the filing of” her lawsuit.

In August, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Alan Fine dismissed a separate lawsuit Weiss Ortiz filed in April tied to the Blue Lagoon site. She sued TIG Romspen, a lender that provided a $21.3 million loan to the entities that own the assemblage. Weiss Ortiz unsuccessfully sought to have the 2020 mortgage nullified.

Weiss also appealed Fine’s ruling. The appeal is pending.