Developer Rishi Kapoor is being investigated FBI, SEC

Feds looks into payments to Mayor Francis Suarez, sale of investment contracts

Rishi Kapoor and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez
Rishi Kapoor and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (Location Ventures, Getty)

Another week, more investigations for South Florida developer Rishi Kapoor.

The FBI and the SEC have initiated separate inquiries into Kapoor, the Miami Herald reported.

The FBI’s criminal investigation centers on the $10,000 monthly payments to Miami Mayor Francis Suarez from a subsidiary of Kapoor’s company, Location Ventures. Agents are looking into whether the payments constitute bribes in exchange for permits or other favors from the mayor for Location Ventures’ mixed-use project in Coconut Grove.

The SEC is also investigating Location Ventures, focusing on whether Kapoor and his company sold investment contracts without registering them as securities, misrepresented potential profits to investors, or misused funds for personal expenses. The agency’s probe began earlier this year and is examining potential violations related to securities regulations.

The federal investigations come after the Miami Herald exposed Location Ventures’ consulting payments to Mayor Suarez and revealed internal corporate records indicating that the mayor and his office assisted Kapoor in overcoming a permitting obstacle for his $70 million Coconut Grove development. The Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust and the State Attorney’s Office have also launched inquiries into the matter.

The investigations present challenges for Kapoor, who is a rising developer with various real estate projects across South Florida, and for Mayor Suarez, who is expected to announce his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination this month.

Both Kapoor and Suarez have previously denied any wrongdoing in their business relationship. Kapoor claimed that the mayor provided marketing and branding assistance for his projects, while Suarez stated that he was paid to attract investors to Kapoor’s ventures.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

The FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the SEC declined to comment on the investigations. Legal experts suggest, however, that if the SEC determines that Location Ventures sold investment contracts as securities, Kapoor and his company could face serious consequences, including questions about fund usage and potential personal benefits.

Former high-ranking executive Greg Brooks, who worked at Location Ventures, filed a lawsuit accusing Kapoor of financial improprieties, including unauthorized fees, misappropriation of funds, and misuse of condo buyers’ deposits. 

The lawsuit was settled confidentially last week.

Kapoor, a prominent developer known for attracting wealthy investors, has been involved in numerous real estate projects. 

However, some minority investors have raised concerns about his actions, including obtaining loans without consulting them and incurring additional fees.

As the investigations unfold, the extent of the SEC’s interest in Mayor Suarez’s work for Location Ventures remains unclear. 

However, the mayor has indicated his involvement in raising capital for the company. In the midst of the investigations, Suarez is also preparing for a potential presidential campaign and has engaged with donors and planned a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

Ted Glanzer