Developer of failed Palm House Hotel pleads guilty in EB-5 fraud case

Robert Matthews once claimed that Donald Trump and President Bill Clinton would be on the project’s advisory board

Bob and Mia Matthews (Credit: PRWeb)

Bob and Mia Matthews (Credit: PRWeb)

Robert Matthews, the developer of the Palm House Hotel, pleaded guilty on Thursday in federal court to money laundering and tax evasion charges for defrauding foreign EB-5 investors in the Palm Beach condo-hotel project.

Matthew’s wife Maria “Mia” Matthews also pleaded guilty Thursday to tax evasion in federal court in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Matthews was the developer of the project at 160 Royal Palm Way that began soliciting EB-5 investment in 2012.

EB-5 is a federal program where investors can get a green card in exchange for investing at least $500,000 in a U.S. enterprise and creating at least 10 jobs. The development group was able to solicit more than $40 million of EB-5 money for the Palm House development.

The development group assured investors that the project would be completed in less than a year and that their money would be protected in an escrow account with a bank. It also claimed that Donald Trump, Bill Clinton and Celine Dion would be on the condo-hotel’s advisory board.

In reality, no such advisory board existed and much of the money was instead diverted for the personal use of the Matthewses, according to federal prosecutors.

The Matthewses used the funds to pay off their credit card debts and to purchase two properties located in Washington Depot, Connecticut. One of the Washington Depot properties was a property that Robert Matthews had previously lost in foreclosure, according to federal officials.

The case became a key example of the problems and challenges facing the federal EB-5 program. Forty-four investors have filed a lawsuit in Palm Beach County Circuit Court alleging fraud against Robert Matthews along with the EB-5 Regional Center for the project, the South Atlantic Regional Center, and its director, whom they claim misled them into investing in the project.

About 80 EB-5 investors, largely from China and Iran, lost their entire $500,000 investment in the project and never received a green card.

Robert Matthews pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, which has a maximum sentence of 30 years; one count of illegal monetary transactions, that has a maximum sentence of 10 years; and one count of tax evasion, that has a maximum sentence of five years.

Maria Matthews pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion.

In their guilty plea, Robert and Maria Matthews also said they sought to evade paying federal income tax they owed for the 2005 and 2007 years.

Both are currently released on bond, awaiting sentencing.

Others involved in the case have already pleaded guilty. Gerry Matthews, Robert’s brother, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The contractor of the project, Nick Laudano of Boynton Beach, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of illegal monetary transactions.

In March, a federal judge approved the sale of the still unfinished Palm House Hotel to a U.S. affiliate of London + Regional Properties for $39.6 million.

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¡Confirmado! Kate del Castillo confesó «rounds fuertes» con el boxeador Saúl ‘Canelo’ Álvarez

¡Confirmado! Kate del Castillo confesó «rounds fuertes» con el boxeador Saúl ‘Canelo’ Álvarez

La actriz mexicana, Kate del Castillo y Saúl ‘Canelo’ Álvarez, tuvieron una fugaz relación, pero no por eso menos intensa.

Por Redacción MiamiDiario

Durante un programa televisivo donde participó en una dinámica de preguntas y respuestas. La protagonista de la serie «La Reina del Sur» confirmó que se echó «varios rounds fuertes y hasta existieron nocauts».

Esto ocurrió en el programa Un Nuevo Día, cuando el conductor Marco Antonio Regil le comenzó a hacer preguntas a Kate. Si se negaba a contestar, el castigo era darle una mordida a un chile.

Castillo no respondió de inmediato la pregunta, pensó por varios segundos, pero mientras el conductor del programa insistía en cuestionarla sobre algún encuentro o romance con un boxeador, reveló: «Pues sí, tal vez con ‘Canelo’».

Entre risas y un evidente juego de palabras, la actriz aseguró que el pugilista era el primero que «caía en la lona» y que hubo varios «rounds fuertes». Después de las revelaciones, pidió que le pasaran un chile para morderlo, pues la dinámica de la entrevista era contestar las preguntas sobre su vida íntima o morder el fruto.

Fuente: RT

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Lennar breaks ground, launches sales at Siena Creek in south Miami-Dade

Lennar breaks ground, launches sales at Siena Creek in south Miami-Dade

Stuart Miller and a rendering of the Siena Creek Home Community

Lennar Corp. has broken ground and launched sales for its new Siena Creek home community in south Miami-Dade County, where prices will start in the upper $200,000s.

The Miami-based homebuilder’s new community is located at 18897 Southwest 137th Avenue and will have 120 two-bedroom and three-bedroom townhomes. With prices starting below $300,000, the townhouses are some of the most affordable new homes in Miami-Dade County.

Amenities will include a pool, a pool cabana and a clubhouse. Each townhome will come with Smart Home Technology with activation and support by Amazon and voice control by Alexa. Prices range from $263,000 to $291,000. The first homes are expected to be delivered in the second quarter of 2020, according to a press release.

Lennar became the largest homebuilder in the country last year when it acquired CalAtlantic in a deal worth $9 billion.

More homebuilders are increasingly building new homes in south Miami-Dade County where land is less expensive.

While existing home sales have struggled nationally, new homes sales increased 4.5 percent in March to an average seasonally adjusted annual rate of 692,000. There is high demand for lower-priced homes as housing across the country becomes more expensive for homebuyers.

Lennar continues to buy property in south Miami-Dade for new developments. In June, Lennar bought 32 acres in south Miami-Dade County from iStar for $9.5 million. And last April, Lennar paid $4.5 million for 32.7 acres of farmland near Zoo Miami.

South Miami approves long-planned Shops at Sunset Place redevelopment

Federal Realty, Grass River and Comras will move forward two years after the project appeared dead on arrival

Renderings of Sunset Place

Renderings of Sunset Place

Two years after a redevelopment proposal for the Shops at Sunset Place died, the South Miami mall’s new owners kept their plan alive long enough to get it approved.

During a special commission meeting on Wednesday, the South Miami City Commission voted unanimously in favor of several ordinances that will allow a partnership between Federal Realty Investment Trust, Grass River Property and The Comras Company to transform the roughly half-a-million square-foot shopping center into a mixed-use site featuring a reimagined mall, a pair of apartment buildings and a hotel.

The commission’s 5-0 affirmative vote was a marked contrast from the elected body’s rejection of the proposed zoning changes in 2017 when it voted 3-2 against the project. In a written statement, Federal Realty vice president Mark Brennan said the partnership worked with Mayor Philip Stoddard and City Manager Steven Alexander to draft a new agreement that incorporates a number of resilient elements to combat climate change.

“The Commission’s unanimous vote reflects the community’s outpouring of support for revamped retail and dining, market rate housing, a hotel, and new public spaces that will help revitalize downtown South Miami and enhance connectivity with the surrounding neighborhood and nearby transit options,” Brennan said.

The new development on the 9.7-acre property at 5701 Southwest 72nd Street would entail a 440,000-square-foot shopping center, roughly 32,000 square feet of new office space, 40 condos totaling 40,500 square feet, two apartment buildings with 414 units, a 182-room hotel, and two additional levels to the existing parking garage.

During the meeting, the city manager outlined modifications to the project that include rooftop solar panels, a white or reflective roof system, green roofs and replacing some street parking spaces with landscaping. South Miami became the first city in Florida in 2017 to require owners of new homes to install solar panels.

The developers also agreed to eliminate an underground parking garage that had been planned for phase two of the project, Alexander said, due to concerns that the garage could flood with groundwater as a result of sea level rise.

The developers agreed to fund several initiatives, as well. The city will receive $250,000 for a new streetscape along Sunset Drive, $1.5 million for pedestrian safety measures – including a possible pedestrian bridge over U.S. 1 – and an amphitheater and public plaza that can hold 500 people.

Alexander said if Sunset Place is not redeveloped, downtown South Miami will suffer with a reduction in quality stores and less desirable retailers replacing them. “Its success and energy is essential for the existence and well being of our smaller shops,” he said. “Cumulatively, our small downtown area has lost 90 restaurants, shops and other businesses since the project was formally initiated in 2016.”

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¡Suerte! Mujer ganó $6.5 millones tras comprar por error dos boletos de lotería en Australia

¡Suerte! Mujer ganó $6.5 millones tras comprar por error dos boletos de lotería en Australia

Una mujer se convirtió en multimillonaria gracias a una jugada accidental al comprar un boleto de lotería.

Por Redacción MiamiDiario

La australiana, de Sidney, quiso comprar su habitual billete de “keno” con sus números favoritos, pero por error compró dos.

Con ello ganó 6,5 millones de dólares australianos.

Pese al premio, la mujer dijo a 7NEWS Sydney que seguirá con su rutina diaria y trabajo, y que el dinero lo utilizará para salir de vacaciones y ayudar a su familia.

Fuente: RT

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Here are South Florida’s five largest multifamily deals in March

Here are South Florida’s five largest multifamily deals in March

Clockwise from top left: Broadstone Harbor Beach, Manhattan II in Overtown, Temple Court Apartments, Cloisters at the Gables, and Watershed Residences

Clockwise from top left: Broadstone Harbor Beach, Manhattan II in Overtown, Temple Court Apartments, Cloisters at the Gables, and Watershed Residences

Broadstone Harbor Beach | TGM Associates – $136M

TGM Associates bought the Broadstone Harbor Beach apartment complex in Fort Lauderdale for $136 million, marking South Florida’s largest multifamily deal so far this year.

The New York-based real estate firm purchased the 394-unit waterfront building at 1721 17th Street for about $345,000 per unit, records show. Alliance Residential and Invesco Real Estate sold the property to TGM.

The units average 912 square feet, with rents ranging between $2,000 to $3,000 a month. Amenities include a fitness center, boxing and yoga studio, movie theater, pool with cabanas, dog park and massage room.

Overtown apartments | Walnut Street Capital – $14M

Six apartment properties in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood sold for $14 million, signaling growing interest in real estate in the area.

A company tied to Thomas Neary and Arthur Bartholomew of Fort Lauderdale-based Walnut Street Capital bought the 2.2-acre assemblage, records show. All of the buildings were owned by companies tied to either Larry and Leslie Gratz or Teresa Matias of Miami.

Temple Court Apartments | Atlantic Housing Foundation – $6.8M

A company led by former Major League Baseball All-Star Mo Vaughn sold an affordable housing building in the Miami River District for $6.8 million.

An affiliate of Vaughn’s Omni New York sold the 61-unit Temple Court Apartments at 431 Northwest Third Street for $111,000 per unit. The buyer is an affiliate of the Atlantic Housing Foundation, a Dallas-based affordable housing company.

Cloisters at the Gables | CA Ventures – $6M

Chicago investment firm CA Ventures paid $6 million for 10 duplex buildings near the University of Miami where it is planning a student housing project.

The company bought the buildings that surround the Cloisters at the Gables, a 79-unit condo complex at 5810, 5830 and 5840 Southwest 57th Avenue. The company also bought the complex for $15 million.

The deals give CA Ventures control of most of the block between Southwest 58th Avenue and Red Road, and Southwest 58th Terrace and 60th Street. The properties are about two blocks away from the University of Miami.

Watershed Residences | Eastside Equities – $5.1M

Eastside Equities bought a sober living facility in Lake Worth for $5.1 million.

Watershed Residence Inc., a Delray Beach company, sold the 40-unit, 11,292-square-foot property, at 3431 Helena Drive, for $127,500 per unit.

The property, known as the Watershed Residences, previously sold in 2011 for $2.1 million.

CoStar reports 20% revenue jump in Q1

Threat of Moody’s entering the sector hasn’t stopped the data giant’s revenues from growing

CoStar CEO Andy Florance (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)

CoStar CEO Andy Florance (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)

CoStar Group’s revenue jumped 20 percent year over year during the first quarter, reaching $328 million — due in part to strong results from its residential listings platform.

The company reported a 63 percent year-over-year jump in net income to $85 million, and a 61 percent increase in EBITDA to $113 million.

Andrew Florance, the company’s CEO and founder, said on an earnings call Tuesday that the figures were bolstered by, which posted a 30 percent year-over-year increase in revenue.

“We continue to pull further away from the competition, and in 2019 I believe we will continue on that trend,” Florance said on Tuesday’s earnings call.

The positive financial results come amid the growing threat of Moody’s Analytics. Through partnerships and ownership of firms including CompStak, Rockport VAL and Reis, Moody’s has sought to establish an alternate platform in the real estate data space, which has for decades been dominated by CoStar.

CoStar’s share price jumped 1.64 percent Tuesday, and closed trading at $495 a share, a record for the company. Its market capitalization is now over $18 billion.

Following a year of record revenue in 2018, which topped out at $1.2 billion, the company re-adjusted its financial goals and said it was aiming for $3 billion in annual sales by 2023, and more than $1.3 billion in revenue this year.

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