Miami Mayor Francis Suarez testifies in SEC case against Rishi Kapoor

He allegedly discussed his consultant role with embattled developer accused of misappropriating $93M from investors

Miami Mayor Suarez Testifies In SEC Case Against Rishi Kapoor
Rishi Kapoor and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (Getty)

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez detailed his role as a private consultant for Rishi Kapoor’s real estate companies in a sworn statement to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Last month, Suarez provided his testimony under subpoena about the business arrangement with Urbin, a subsidiary of Location Ventures, Miami Herald reported. Kapoor founded both firms, leading Location Ventures and Urbin until he stepped down last summer. The SEC is suing Kapoor in Miami federal court for allegedly defrauding more than 50 investors who contributed $93 million for his real estate projects.

In addition to monthly $10,000 payments, Suarez was promised commissions if he recruited investors, and an equity stake in Urbin after working as a company consultant for a certain period of time. The mayor ultimately did not receive either commissions or an equity stake because he never succeeded in landing investors. 

But Suarez’s testimony could cause him more trouble with law enforcement agencies investigating him and Kapoor. The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics are probing the relationship between Suarez and Kapoor, and the FBI is also conducting a separate public corruption investigation into both of them. 

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In August 2021, one month after Suarez came on board as a consultant, the mayor met with Kapoor on the developer’s boat docked at Cocoplum Yacht Club in Coral Gables, the Miami Herald reported. On the mayor’s public calendar, the meeting is listed as official city business and not private time for Suarez. At the very least, Suarez would be in violation of county and state conflict of interest laws if he was using his public office to benefit his private gig. 

Both Suarez and Kapoor have steadfastly denied any wrongdoing and said that they never discussed any matters involving Location Ventures and Urbin that required city of Miami involvement.

Last year, Suarez was the first candidate in the 2024 Republican presidential primary to drop out after he failed to qualify for the first debate. Recently, the Florida Commission dismissed a complaint against Suarez that he failed to report invitations to expensive sports events as gifts. 

Suarez provided ethics investigators with proof that he paid for two tickets to attend a VIP party at last year’s Formula 1 race in Miami Gardens hosted by billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin. Over the weekend, Suarez was photographed at VIP sections of this year’s race. 

– Francisco Alvarado

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