As Francis Suarez seeks presidency, these developers fund his PAC

Miami’s top bro is embarking on a longshot bid for the Republican nomination

Dacra’s Craig Robins, Moishe Mana, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, Alex Sapir and Miami Freedom Park developer Jorge Mas
Dacra’s Craig Robins, Moishe Mana, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, Alex Sapir and Miami Freedom Park developer Jorge Mas (Dacra, Getty, Sapir Organization)

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is banking on the city’s top developers to fuel his White House ambitions. 

Despite facing state and federal investigations into private payments he received from developer Rishi Kapoor, Suarez charged into the crowded field of Republican presidential contenders on Wednesday. The Magic City’s most visible elected official faces longshot odds in a primary race currently dominated by two other higher profile Florida candidates: former President Donald Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis.

For months, Suarez not-so-coyly signaled that he was going to seek the GOP’s 2024 nomination. A Super PAC called SOS America that backs his candidacy has collected $6 million to date, according to federal campaign finance reports. 

A who’s who of Miami’s development community have boosted SOS America’s coffers, pouring in roughly $2.6 million in December, the reports show. 

Jorge Mas, the billionaire chairman of MasTec, is SOS America’s largest donor, kicked in a combined $500,000 through two separate entities. Mas and his partners, including retired soccer star David Beckham, are co-developing the Miami Freedom Park mega-mixed-use project that will be anchored by a Major League Soccer stadium. 

Moishe Mana, the largest property owner in Wynwood and downtown Miami, and Gencom, a Miami-based global real estate investment firm, each gave $100,000 to SOS America. Gencom and Hyatt are awaiting Miami City Commission approval of a 99-year ground lease to redevelop the city-owned James L. Knight Center and adjacent hotel into a much larger $2 billion mixed-use project. 

Entities managed by Related Group Chairman Jorge Pérez, Property Markets Group principal Ryan Shear and Vlad Doronin’s OKO Group each contributed $50,000 to the Suarez Super PAC. Pérez did not respond to a text requesting comment, and Shear declined comment via a spokesperson. Doronin could not be reached for comment. 

Nir Shoshani, principal of Miami-based real estate firm NR Investments, and Alex Sapir, the embattled New York developer, each ponied up $25,000 for SOS America. 

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Craig Robins, CEO of Dacra, which spearheaded most of Miami’s Design District transformation into a high-end retail and restaurant destination, also gave SOS America $25,000 via an entity he manages. Robins told The Real Deal he hasn’t supported any other candidate running for president.

“At this time, it’s only Francis,” Robins said. “He is an amazing person, and he has done a great job for Miami. I’m happy he has thrown his name in.” 

Arnaud Karsenti, principal of Miami-based developer 13th Floor Investments, contributed $5,000 to the Super PAC.

“Mayor Suarez has been an exceptional ambassador for Miami’s brand and business community,” Karsenti said via email. “He has prioritized critical issues in our community as mayor and during his time as a city commissioner.”

Robins and Karsenti declined comment about the Suarez and Kapoor controversy, and whether it could torpedo the mayor’s presidential campaign. 

This week, SOS America released an ominous two-minute ad featuring Suarez as a fresh-faced alternative to President Joe Biden. 

The clip starts off with a warning: “This video contains graphic content that liberals may find disturbing.” The rest of the video is a montage of a New York City police SUV on fire, a person defecating on a sidewalk, an individual in camouflage clothing climbing down a border wall with a rope and a local news report in Chicago about shootings injuring 52 people in one weekend. 

The video also features snippets of Suarez being interviewed by Tucker Carlson, the rightwing TV personality recently fired by Fox News.