Developer Ricardo Dunin, wife Marcella Novela arrested over domestic violence dispute

Dunin said they consider it a “big misunderstanding that has been blown out of proportion”

Ricardo Dunin, Marcella Novela Arrested for Domestic Violence
Oak Capital's Ricardo Dunin and Marcella Novella (Oak Capital, Marcella Novela, Miami Beach Police)

Developer Ricardo Dunin and his wife, Marcella Novela, a recent candidate for Miami Beach commissioner, were arrested on domestic violence charges. 

Dunin, whose full name is Ricardo Dunin Borkowsky, and his wife had a fight at Dunin’s home on Flamingo Drive in Miami Beach, according to a copy of the police report. Novella recently lost the election for Group VI commissioner against Joe Magazine. She’s been married to Dunin for nearly 10 years, the police report states. 

On Wednesday morning, police arrived at the couple’s home to find Dunin in the pool with some of his belongings and Novela sitting on the edge, according to the report. Novela told police that Dunin attacked her inside their bedroom, alleging that Dunin grabbed her by the throat and pushed her into a dresser. She said she punched him in the face in self-defense, and he threw her on the bed. 

Dunin told police he ran out to the pool deck “in fear for his safety” and that Novela pushed him into the pool. The report stated that Novela had a “strong odor of alcohol emitting from her breath and body.” Novela had been drinking until 3 a.m., she told police. 

Novela had a red mark on her neck and Dunin had a small cut on his right temple, according to the police report. 

Reached by text message on Monday, Dunin said he and Novela were currently traveling together. “We both view this unfortunate episode as a big misunderstanding that has been blown out of proportion,” he wrote. 

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They both face misdemeanor charges of battery. Arraignment hearings are set for mid-December. 

Dunin was a longtime partner at Miami-based Lionheart Capital, which developed the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach in Mid-Beach, among other projects. He split with Lionheart co-founder Ophir Sternberg in 2020 and launched his own firm called Oak Capital. 

Oak Capital is working on plans for a 29-story, 459-unit condo-hotel in Miami’s Brickell with the Peruvian firm Edifica. He also has another project under construction with Edgardo Defortuna’s Fortune International Group. Oak and Fortune are developing the two-tower Ritz-Carlton Residences, Pompano Beach

Novela, an art adviser and curator, was among Miami Beach candidates this election season who collected contributions from developers, brokers and others in the real estate industry. Douglas Elliman Florida CEO Jay Parker, developer Mikael Hamaoui, Michael Simkins, David Grutman, Avra Jain, Fortune International Group and other companies managed by Edgardo and Ana Cristina Defortuna wrote checks to her campaign. 

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