The Weekly Dirt: When the SEC comes knocking

.@kkallergis breaks down the week’s top real estate news:
Rishi Kapoor (Getty)

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit against Rishi Kapoor and his former company, signaling more trouble for the embattled developer. 

The SEC’s year-long investigation alleges that Kapoor defrauded more than 50 investors who contributed almost $100 million for real estate projects. It’s the latest setback for Kapoor, who is facing foreclosure of his waterfront home in Coral Gables’ ritzy Cocoplum area and already had his yacht seized by the U.S. Marshals Service. 

Last year, Kapoor’s arrangement with Miami Mayor Francis Suarez was revealed in a lawsuit. Kapoor’s firm was paying the mayor $10,000 a month while Location Ventures had business before the city. The mayor is also facing calls to resign. 

Just two days after Christmas, the judge presiding over the SEC case froze all of Kapoor’s assets. Kapoor has denied any wrongdoing, calling the allegations “unfounded, twisted and/or flat out false.” He told reporter Francisco Alvarado via email that the allegation he induced investors by falsely claiming his family contributed $13 million to launch Location Ventures was “both laughable and reckless in its lack of accuracy.”

Kapoor also “intentionally understated construction” and other costs “to make it appear prospective investors would realize higher returns,” the complaint alleges.

The SEC says that Kapoor misappropriated investor funds, spending more than $4 million on himself. That includes buying a $5 million yacht for over $5 million, a $700,000 dock for said yacht, a McLaren Spider (leased, of course) and $10,000 a month on a private chef. A Miami developer starter kit? 

What we’re thinking about: A handful of huge construction loans have closed for South Florida condo projects in recent weeks, totaling more than $1 billion, with another $1 billion-plus that could close in the coming months. How will this affect the rest of the lending market? Send me a note at kk@therealdeal.com

CLOSING TIME 

Residential: French food entrepreneur Paul Bensabat sold his waterfront 7,000-square-foot house at 6580 Allison Road in Miami Beach to Grove Invest LLC, a Florida company. The Allison Island home traded for $17 million in an off-market deal. 

Commercial: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ commercial real estate arm paid $174.3 million to acquire the Beacon Logistics Park in Hialeah. Codina Partners sold the 1.3 million-square-foot industrial campus on the northeast corner of Northwest 107th Avenue and Northwest 145th Place. 

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

By signing up, you agree to TheRealDeal Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

— Research by Adam Farence

NEW TO THE MARKET 

Tennis champ Caroline Wozniacki and her husband, ex-New York Knick David Lee, listed their Fisher Island penthouse for $42.5 million. The pro athlete couple paid $18.7 million for the 7,000-square-foot, five-bedroom condo at Palazzo Del Sol in 2021. Dina Goldentayer of Douglas Elliman is listing the unit. 

Palazzo Del Sol (Dina Goldentayer/Legendary Productions)

A thing we’ve learned 

BH3, the Miami-based developer and lender led by Dan Lebensohn and Greg Freedman, got its name when the three co-founders were working on a tough deal with Michael Dell’s MSD Capital. Lebensohn messaged Freedman during a presentation, not knowing that the MSD partners could see the screen. 

“One of the first structure proposals that they sent was over the top,” Lebensohn tells me. “I wrote to [Freedman] on his ICQ. I said, ‘What the f*ck do these guys think we are, baggage handlers?’” So they came up with BH3 — short for three baggage handlers.

Elsewhere in Florida 

  • Abortion rights advocates in Florida secured enough signatures to qualify for a referendum on the 2024 ballot that could undo the state’s abortion bans, Politico reports. 
  • Florida will be able to buy prescription drugs from Canada in an effort to lower the cost to residents in the state. The Food and Drug Administration approved the policy, which will allow for the bulk purchase of medications, according to NBC News.

A company owned by Miami City Manager Art Noriega’s in-laws has been awarded more than $440,000 in city contracts for new office furniture since Noriega got the job over three years ago, according to the Miami Herald. Noriega’s wife, Michelle Pradere-Noriega was listed as the salesperson on invoices obtained by the Herald, but she left out her hyphenated name.