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Miami-Dade Business Briefs - January 2011


» Berenfeld Spritzer Schechter & Sheer, the accounting firm that worked for convicted Ponzi scheme attorney Scott Rothstein, agreed to pay $10 million to settle two malpractice lawsuits related to its accounting work for Rothstein, his law firm and the top feeder fund in Rothstein’s fraud.


» Church leaders from Miami, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Italy and the Bahamas inaugurated the first Roman Catholic seminary to open in the nation in more than 50 years.

» The government proposed eliminating food rationing cards, reducing its control of agriculture and state enterprises and allowing expansion of private economic activity and foreign investment. However, it stressed that “only socialism can overcome difficulties and preserve the gains of the revolution” and communist-style central planning will remain the nation’s driving force. The proposals are part of a recently published guide for debate at April’s Communist Party of Cuba Congress, the first since 1997.


» A study commissioned by the non-profit Everglades Foundation says that the state will gain $4.04 in economic benefits for every dollar spent on the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, through increased home values, tourism, fishing and boating.


» Adonel Concrete, the tri-county region’s largest independently owned concrete company, acquired a 50% ownership in Haiti-based Betonex.

» Whole Foods will open its first downtown Miami location in MDM Development Group’s Metropolitan Miami project in late 2013.

» Atlanta-based Wood Partners and New York-based Area Property Partners paid $46 million to purchase the 324-unit Terrazas Riverpark Village condominium complex from lender iStar Financial. They will turn it into rental apartments.

Everglades on the Bay condominium towers
» New York-based Rockwood Capital paid $142 million to buy the bank note for the 849-unit Everglades on the Bay condominium towers. The project’s developer was Cabi Downtown, and the lender was a consortium led by Bank of America.
» All American Hot Dog Carts filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, as did owner Louie DiRaimondo, who recently appeared on Joan Rivers’ “How’d You Get So Rich?” TV show.

» Opko Health acquired 13% of early-stage La Jolla, Calif.-based biotechnology firm Fabrus.


» NCL Corp., parent of Norwegian Cruise Line, filed for an initial public offering.

» In a $41.9-million foreclosure judgment, developers Arthur Falcone, Marc Roberts and Nitin Motwani lost most of the 25-acre Miami Worldcenter project site to lender Fifth Third Bank. They had hoped to build a 12-million-sq.-ft. mixed-use development.

» Miami Dade College’s downtown Miami campus received a $2.4-million grant to expand its capacity to attract and retain Hispanic and low-income students; the grant came from the U.S. Department of Education’s Strengthening Institutions-Hispanic Serving Institutions program. The college’s Homestead and north campuses received $3 million from the department to assist first-generation, low-income and disabled college students.

» The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau and its New York counterpart, NYC & Company, embarked on a yearlong joint marketing venture to increase travel between the two areas.

» Jackson Health System took control of its $7.2-million, 54-employee international marketing and patient assistance program. The program had been outsourced to Foundation Health Services, which has received criticism from inspectors and the county.


» BankUnited filed for an initial public offering of up to $300 million.

» J.I. Kislak Mortgage is opening its second office, in Jacksonville.