The Weekly Dirt: Scandal envelops prominent homebuilder

Sergio Pino denies he poisoned or played a role in attacks against his estranged wife

Poison Allegations, FBI Probe Target Developer Sergio Pino
Sergio Pino with Tatiana Pino (inset) (YouTube, Facebook)

Century Homebuilders Group founder Sergio Pino is at the center of an FBI probe, and explosive allegations that he poisoned his wife Tatiana.  

Pino’s firm is the largest Hispanic-owned homebuilder in the country with more than 16,000 completed homes under his firm’s belt. Pino has been locked in a divorce with Tatiana since 2022. 

Tatiana accused Sergio of poisoning her, according to depositions included in the couple’s divorce filings. The allegations became public after the FBI raided Pino’s waterfront Cocoplum estate and his Coral Gables office, the Miami Herald first reported.

The FBI is probing whether Bayron Bennett, a part-time worker at the Pinos’ Cocoplum home, was hired by Sergio to target his wife and her sister just two months after Tatiana filed for divorce. Bennett and his accomplices were charged with stalking Tatiana, arson and crashing into her car, according to the criminal complaint. 

Sergio has denied that he poisoned his wife, and his attorneys deny that Sergio had any involvement in the attacks against her. 

In a deposition, Tatiana described the unexplained health problems she began to have in 2019 that persisted until she moved out of their home in 2022. She went to a number of hospitals, including Mercy Hospital, South Miami Hospital and Doctors Hospital in the Miami area, and traveled to the Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins Hospital to figure out what was going on. 

It was at Johns Hopkins where an epidemiologist found fentanyl in her system, Tatiana said in her deposition, recorded at the end of last year. Additional testing also revealed bath salts in her medication. 

Her estranged husband was “the only possible suspect” who would have poisoned her, she said. 

The couple’s issues predate the alleged poisoning and the divorce filing. Years earlier, Tatiana discovered her husband was having an affair, and the two saw marriage counselors. 

In the wake of the divorce filing, Pino has said he was also threatened. The Miami Herald reported last week that he claims he was shot at one month after Tatiana filed for divorce. Coral Gables Police investigated the incident, but didn’t find anyone. His car was also allegedly set on fire in a separate incident. 

A trial tied to the couple’s prenuptial agreement is set to begin in about a week. 

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What we’re thinking about: How will this saga affect Pino’s business? Send me a note at kk@therealdeal.com

CLOSING TIME 

Residential: Ernst Swietelsky sold his waterfront home at 3080 Munroe Drive in Miami’s Coconut Grove for $33.5 million. Iremos Holdings, a Florida LLC, purchased the eight-bedroom, 7,300-square-foot home. 

Commercial: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ commercial real estate investment arm paid $133 million for the 315-unit apartment building at 1301 Southwest 80th Terrace in Plantation. Stiles and PGIM Real Estate sold the 4.3-acre development for about $422,000 per apartment. 

NEW TO THE MARKET 

Developer Robert Fessler listed his oceanfront estate at 880 South Ocean Boulevard in Manalapan for nearly $45 million. The renovated 10,000-square-foot, six-bedroom mansion is on the market with Pascal Liguori of Premier Estate Properties. The 1.6-acre property includes a koi pond, sculpture gardens and 150 feet of water frontage on the beach and the Intracoastal. 

Poison Allegations, FBI Probe Target Developer Sergio Pino
880 South Ocean Boulevard (Google Maps)

A thing we’ve learned 

Water temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean have consistently been at levels usually seen at the peak of hurricane season in September, according to the Miami Herald. This is part of why Hurricane Beryl strengthened so quickly, becoming the earliest Category 5 to form in the Atlantic and the strongest hurricane to form in the month of June, the start of the season. 

Elsewhere in Florida 

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing federal heat protections for workers across the country, after Gov. Ron DeSantis banned local municipalities from requiring businesses to provide protections such as water and rest breaks, according to the Orlando Sentinel. On a related note, South Florida was under a heat advisory, with the heat index at up to 110 degrees, until Friday evening. 
  • A former employee of the Collier family filed a lawsuit alleging that most of the 11,000 acres that the state of Florida purchased from the Colliers is toxic, the Tampa Bay Times reports. The powerful Florida family sold the state land near Everglades City for $30 million last year, for conservation purposes. The ex-Collier family worker said at least 8,000 acres could be contaminated with a wood treatment chemical, from a 1956 fire. 
  • A lawyer recently hired by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office wrote a recently published Rated R novel that depicts women as sex objects and uses transphobic language. The attorney, Steve Gosney, told the Miami Herald that he doesn’t condone the sado-masochistic themes and misogynistic thinking of his characters.
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