The Weekly Dirt: Who’s bankrolling the race for Miami Beach mayor?

An analysis of South Florida's top real estate news

Weekly Dirt: Who’s Funding Miami Beach Mayor’s Race?
Michael Góngora and Michael Grieco (Center) with Steve Patterson, Peter Kanavos, Chris Paciello, Mathieu Massa, David and Isabela Rangel Grutman, Paulo Bacchi, Dina Goldentayer and Steve Witkoff (Getty)

Several major developers and other real estate bigwigs have thrown cash at the high-stakes mayor’s race in Miami Beach. 

Obviously, many have business in the city. They include Witkoff, David Grutman, Mathieu Massa, Vlad Doronin’s OKO Group. 

Including money raised by political action committees and related organizations, candidates Michael Góngora and Michael Grieco have collected well over $100,000 from real estate developers, brokers, hoteliers and restaurateurs.

Góngora, a condo association attorney at Becker, and Grieco, a criminal defense attorney, both previously served on the Miami Beach City Commission. They are running against former MTV International CEO Bill Roedy and current commissioner Steven Meiner, who is also an attorney. But only Góngora and Grieco have secured notable contributions from the real estate industry, according to our analysis of campaign finance records. Election day is Nov. 7, and early voting is underway. 

Real estate players cut checks to both Grieco and Góngora, including David Grutman and his wife, Isabela Rangel Grutman, and Marcus & Millichap broker Ronnie Issenberg. Grutman’s hospitality ventures in the city include LIV nightclub at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, Story nightclub, the Goodtime Hotel and Papi Steak. 

More contributions that stood out: New York developer Sonny Bazbaz of Bazbaz Development and members of his family contributed a total of at least $10,000 to Grieco’s campaign. Massa, a restaurateur and luxury homebuilder, personally contributed $1,000 to Góngora; three LLCs he manages donated another $3,000. 

Also, as we previously reported, a PAC supporting Góngora raised more than $200,000, including $50,000 from Location Ventures, a firm in liquidation that was previously led by embattled developer Rishi Kapoor.

That same PAC secured contributions totaling $10,000 from entities affiliated with Miami Beach developer Russell Galbut of Crescent Heights. Grutman’s Groot Hospitality Holdings contributed $5,000. Also, Doronin’s OKO Group, which is building the luxury Aman hotel and condos in the Faena District of Miami Beach, and Massa’s Massa Consulting Group each cut $15,000 checks to the same committee. 

What we’re thinking about: It looks like Góngora has secured the biggest endorsement from real estate. Who in real estate is backing the commission races in Miami and Miami Beach? Send me a note at kk@therealdeal.com, and stay tuned for our coverage this week. 

CLOSING TIME 

Residential: Commodities mogul Rami Weisfisch and his wife, Pnina Weisfisch, sold the 1.2-acre oceanfront estate at 280 North Ocean Boulevard in Palm Beach to a British Virgin Islands entity for $32.7 million, in what was likely an ownership transfer within the family. Sources estimated the true value of the property is north of $60 million.

Commercial: Longpoint Realty Partners paid $49.3 million for the grocery store-anchored shopping plaza at 1144 Southwest 67th Avenue near West Miami. An undisclosed MetLife Investment Management-advised client sold the Trail Plaza property, which counts Fresco Y Mas as one its tenants. 

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— Research by Adam Farence and Kate Hinsche

NEW TO THE MARKET 

Patrick Markert, founder and CEO of AmeriSave Mortgage, listed his waterfront estate in Miami Beach for $65 million. The seven-bedroom, nine-and-a-half-bathroom home at 6050 North Bay Road is on the market with Douglas Elliman agent Julian Cohen. The 12,705-square-foot mansion sits on a 1.5-acre property — a triple lot — with three docks to match. The listing includes approved plans for a new mansion. 

6050 North Bay Road (Google Maps)

A thing we’ve learned 

Even Halloween candy is not safe from inflation. Candy prices rose 20 percent since 2021, due to the increasing cost of cocoa and sugar, according to the New York Times

Elsewhere in Florida 

  • In the wake of the deadly mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, DeSantis said he would not sign a gun safety measure if elected president. At least 18 people were killed in the shooting last week, which marked the deadliest in the country this year, CNN reports. The shooter had previously been committed to a mental health facility. 
  • Mike DiNapoli, executive director of the Florida Housing Finance Corp., resigned a day before the housing corporation’s board of directors was set to reinstate or terminate him, the Tampa Bay Times reports. Fifteen employees, representing 10 percent of the corporation’s total, had resigned after Gov. Ron DeSantis nominated him to the post in February, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. DiNapoli had been suspended twice. 

A general store in Georgia sold whole, skinned alligators to Georgia Bulldogs fans ahead of the annual football game between the Florida Gators (go Gators!) and the Bulldogs this weekend. The store marketed the specialty item to fans looking for the ultimate “Gator-hater” experience. No, thank you.