South Florida Extra
PACESETTER: To The Rescue
Miami attorney Guy Lewis says his latest gig is easy to explain: "I love wearing the white hat," he says in his folksy Tennessee drawl.
Founding partner: Lewis Tein PL
Education: J.D. from University of Memphis School of Law, 1986; B.S. from University of Tennessee, 1983.
Miami: The Chattanooga native says, "Miami is home now. All my friends and professional contacts are here. And my wife's family is here."
Community Role: Habitat for Humanity, Miami Rescue Mission
Hidden Talent: Picked up music at family music shop. "I play piano some. I play everything a little," he says modestly. "When you work in a music store, if someone comes in to look at a banjo, you play the banjo."The former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, who boasts a record of high-profile convictions - including former Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega and a Cuban spy ring - was appointed receiver for KL Financial Group. A federal court froze the assets of the group of Palm Beach hedge funds and advisers in March to halt an alleged massive fraud.
As court-appointed receiver, Lewis, 43, is in charge of tracking and recouping as much as possible of more than $81 million invested by some Palm Beach socialites and others seduced by claims of annualized returns up to 150%.
It's familiar turf for Lewis, who rose during a 14-year career in the Justice Department to become director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys in Washington, D.C., where he oversaw some 5,000 federal prosecutors and a $1.5-billion budget.
"He had a reputation as a tough and fair-minded prosecutor, willing to pursue prosecutions exhaustingly," says Kendall Coffey, a former boss at the U.S. Attorney's Office. "As receiver, it's the same dynamic of looking under every rock and blade of grass."
Lewis, who became a partner at Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP in 2004, left that firm last month to start his own Miami law firm, Lewis Tein PL, with Michael R. Tein, another former Shook, Hardy partner and fellow veteran of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami. Lewis is voluntarily reducing his normal fees on the hedge-fund case because he regards the role as a public service.
>> Alienware has tapped Robert Lusk, formerly of Sun Microsystems, as vice president of sales and marketing and Randy Paramore, formerly of Hewlett-Packard, as vice president of supply chain at the Miami-based maker of high-powered computers.
>> Peter M. Teigen was named a senior manager at the Fort Lauderdale office of Deloitte & Touche. He was a vice president of Hirons & Associates in the Bradenton area.
>> Joseph P. Klock Jr. failed to win re-election to the board of directors of Steel Hector & Davis, where he had served as chairman since 1983, underscoring a shake-up at the venerable Miami firm. Meanwhile, an exodus of attorneys that began at Steel Hector last year has continued. Among the departures: Sherwin P. Simmons and Guillermo J. Fernandez-Quincoces, who moved to Buchanan Ingersoll.
>> Ballet Florida has appointed Leah Miles, former senior director of financial development at the Palm Beach chapter of the American Red Cross, as its executive director.
>> Angela Newman has joined Coverall Cleaning Concepts in Fort Lauderdale as director of national accounts.
CEO Spotlight: Language of SuccessANNETTE TADDEO, 39
President & CEO / LanguageSpeak Inc., Miami
The business: Miami-based comprehensive language-services company, founded in 1995. LanguageSpeak provides translation for everything from documents to websites along with interpreting and instruction. It also offers cultural and language training aimed at professionals about to plunge into business overseas.
Her journey: Immigrated to U.S. at age 17 from Colombia
Entree: Leverages Hispanic and female ownership. "Companies are recognizing the buying power of women and Hispanics."
Growth rate: 200% a year since 2001
Revenue: $3.2 million
Workforce: Seven employees and about 275 regular contractors
Big clients: Office Depot, ING Group, Tiffany & Co., BankUnited Financial Corp.
Operating philosophy: "If you want to keep customers happy, start by keeping employees happy."
Tip for fledgling entrepreneurs: "You'll get tons of naysayers. There will be so many, 'You can't. You can't. You can't.' "
Political activism: Vice chair of the Democratic National Committee's Business Council
Aspiration: A run for public office, maybe Congress
On being a female entrepreneur: "People say it's a man's world. My answer is, 'So? Take advantage of it.' "
>> Designer J. Wallace Tutt III, who designed the late Gianni Versace's South Beach mansion and homes for Cher and other celebrities, will head the makeover of The Angler's, a Mediterranean revival hotel on South Beach that is slated for condo conversion by developer Gregg Covin. Covin says he plans 55 units priced from $350,000 to $1 million.
>> Duke Realty Corp. snapped up 40 acres at the intersection of Pines Boulevard and I-75 in Pembroke Pines, envisioning up to 400,000 square feet of high-end shops and restaurants; the real estate investment trust optioned 55 adjacent acres for a possible office park. Duke Vice President Mark Levy says it's "arguably one of the last big parcels available for development along the I-75 corridor in Broward County and in south Florida."
>> Miami is considering selling the James L. Knight Center. The center, including a 4,800-seat auditorium and 28,000 square feet of exhibition area at the Miami Convention Center, has been troubled by a deficit for a long time, says City Manager Joe Arriola.
HEADS UP: An Unlikely Union
A burgeoning movement to boost accountability of condominium boards and management companies has attracted an unusual bedfellow in south Florida: A labor union.
The Service Employees International Union, eager to organize an estimated 7,000 condominium maintenance and other workers in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, is courting support from condo-unit owners. Some 250 people turned out for a recent "Clean Condos" town hall meeting organized by the union on Miami Beach to discuss condo concerns.
"Our strong feeling is if we can promote better management of condominiums, that is going to help condo owners and workers," says Hiram Ruiz, deputy director of Local 11 of the union. "If we can show the positive effects of a union - a stable and better-trained workforce - they can see the common ground between condo owners and workers."
"It boils down to a pressure tactic" by the union, says Richard Strunin, president of the Continental Group, a large property manager and a target of the union organizing drive. "I don't think they share a common ground with owners. All the condo owners we talk to say they don't want a union."
>>PDA - Meetings & EventsDateEventLocationMay 17Small Business Leaders of the Year Award LuncheonBoca Raton MarriottMay 19Greater Miami & the Beaches Business Exposition 2005Miami Beach Convention CenterMay 19Debate on Central America Free Trade AgreementFlorida International University MARC PavilionMay 26South Florida Economic Summit 2005The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa, HollywoodJune 3-9Organization of American States general assemblyBroward County Convention Center