Coral Gables Country Club: Illegal Seizure vs. Justified Takeover

Ariel Fernandez

Founder & Editor
[email protected]

Over the last six days, many have given or shared their opinions over the City’s emergency ex parte motion to appoint a receiver to oversee the Coral Gables Country Club and forcefully remove the tenants of the Club, Coral Grand, LLC.

Both the City and Coral Grand, LLC have been clear about where they stand on the issue.

The City has stated that it had no choice to take this action based on what it felt was an imminent threat of destruction of property and documents. Coral Grand, LLC has stated that it was still working on negotiating the sale of its assets to the City the day the receivership motion was made by the City.

For months, tensions between both sides had been escalating and on April 12th, the City requested receiver took over the club. Or so residents were lead to believe.

Receiver Allows Tenants To Remain

The fact is, Coral Grand, LLC and its team are still running the Country Club and operating it under the supervision of a representative of the receiver, former Circuit Judge Joel Brown.

The City had made strong accusations in its motion that Coral Grand, LLC and its owners, the Di Donato family, would destroy documents and property if they were not removed from the Club prior to their May 30th end of lease date. The City argued that out of a need to protect assets on behalf of residents, the City had to take this emergency action ex parte (without participation or knowledge by the other party).

Apparently, the receiver did not see this as imminent a threat as City Manager Peter Iglesias and City Attorney Miriam Soler Ramos, who have spent thousands in hiring multiple firms to represent the City in this case.

Additionally, on Friday, the receiver’s representative sent the City an email stating that “the Receiver would like to cancel the off duty plain-clothed officer presence.” Another measure that had been taken to protect the files and property.

Questions About The Entered Order

A search of the case records shows that the Judge’s order has not yet been made available to the public as of time of publishing. Gables Insider secured a copy by making a public record request of the City.

Unlike most orders issued by the Court, this order does not provide the name of the Judge who entered the order, the case number, the date and time stamp showing when it was entered or a red stamp stating that no further judicial action is required.

Receiver Wants Club Operating As Usual

The receiver has made it clear that he wants the Club operating as usual. In a prior email to the City, the receiver asked that the City “inform them [police officers parked outside the club] that they should not have their flashing lights on.” He also stated that these officers have a clear message, that “the club is fully operational and open for business to serve the City and its citizens as usual.”

Next Hearing

The Court has given a Thursday hearing date for the tenant’s motion to dissolve the receivership.


17 thoughts on “Coral Gables Country Club: Illegal Seizure vs. Justified Takeover

  1. The taxpayers’ hard earned dollars are not a piggy bank for the City Manager Peter Iglesias to use for his personal legacy, the mobility hub (estimated over $50 million). He uses taxpayers’ dollars for what he wants, not what the residents want.

    He most go.

    Any commissioner who supports him must also go.

  2. Unfortunately the Commissioners declined to consider as an alternative an offer to operate a private, non-sectarian primary school at CGCC by successful private school operators that would have coexisted with the Country Club (with only modest inconvenience during school days to CGCC members). The school would have assumed the millions that CG has already spent on refurbishment, plus the millions yet to come, and also paid a handsome rent to the City. In addition, since school parents would have been required to join the CGCC, this would have rejuvenated the Club’s membership, which has grown increasingly long in the tooth. Traffic would not have been a problem with staggered times, avoiding rush hours and the huge parking area at CGCC, which would have allowed contained drop-off and pick-up (as opposed to St. Theresa). This would also have provided CG with a needed non-religious private primary school. To be fair, the proposal was made late in the day and CG preferred to go with the plan to themselves operate the CGCC. As a 40-year Gables resident I have some trepidation as to the ability of government to run what is essentially a private-sector operation, but let’s hope for the best.

  3. Let’s not forget about the shenanigans with the WAWA. Something is rotten in the state of the City Beautiful.

    Every single issue brings up how much money is being #@%^$* frittered away by the city manager and city attorney. This repetitive theme is beyond boring, it is detrimental to our City, not only financially; this is demoralizing.

  5. The long-term solution to all this is a recall election of all commissioners and the mayor. Google: Florida municipal recall and you will see how easy it is to throw all these people out of office

    And as to the expressed opinion by one poster here that “the truth is somewhere in between” I don’t thinks so. The receiver is already indicating the City screwed up.

  6. Most likely the truth lies somewhere in the middle. From the reporting it appears neither Coral Gables Grand nor the city have dealt with each other in good faith. If the city does not have support for its claims, it (meaning we the taxpayers) will be penalized by the court. If it has a factual basis for its claims, then residents should be equally angry at Coral Gables Grand, which should be penalized for its bad faith in dealing with the city (again, we the taxpayers).

    Once the dust settles, will hopefully have a better idea of the truth. If the city messed this up, add it to the list of other citizen grievances to be addressed at the voting booth next spring. Hopefully people will vote. Otherwise we get the government we deserve.

  7. This weeks’ puppet award goes to both City Manager Peter Iglesias and City Attorney Miriam Ramos.

    They both dropped the ball many times in dealing with the Coral Gables Country Club.

    Their mistakes will result in a big bill for the taxpayers.

    It will be in addition to the multi-million dollar bill from City Mangers Peter Iglesias for his legacy, the mobility hub.

  8. Peter Iglesias and Miriam Ramos, have wasted more and more of taxpayers hard earned dollars.
    Our city is in terrible hands with these officials!
    It’s obvious the decisions made are horrible for the tax payers of the city beautiful. Sad they have no respect for those who voted them to office…corruption in city hall.
    Time for them to go.

  9. Ariel,
    Thank you for your continued unbiased reports on Coral Gables. Your efforts help inform and educate CG residents on both the good and the bad. I’m sure you have your opinion but like good reporters do, you report the facts without bias.

  10. Coral Gables leadership should be ashamed of their behavior. It should be our clear message in the next election to vote out the strong arm, third-world bullies out of office. The list of bully examples are extensive. Did anyone see the CGCC prior to the the current residence? It was in disrepair. Current residence put millions $$$ of dollars into the now beautiful and historic building with a state of the art fitness center to boot. Then the city finds an excuse to terminate the lease, then low bids the value of what they will pay for the Di Dinotos property. When their low bid is denied they claim it is for the residents and bring in police to take something that is not theirs. I’ve seen this tactic in other countries but not in the USA. Apparently this is ok in Coral Gables. Lets make it clear and vote them out or demand an investigation.

  11. more taxpayers’ dollars down the drain:

    1. A rainbow on a stand in a park. Cost= $700,000.

    2. A copy of a slice of watermellon in another park. Cost=$100,000.

    3. Revised architects’ plan for Peter Iglesias’ legacy, the mobility hub. Cost=$640,000.

    4. More fees for outside lawyers in the CGCC battle. Cost=who knows?

  12. Another circus and embarrassing situation created by the paranoid city manager whose self-serving actions are always costly to those who pay his salary, the residents of our city. From his disneyesque mobility center fantasy, the WaWa fiasco, developers sell-out, among many others, all third-world actions with dismal and costly results to our city. If the city manager worked in the private sector, where money and merit are earned, he would have been filing for unemployment benefits a long time ago. When will three members of the commission decide the clown show has to stop? Make it sooner before the 2023 elections as the residents will send their message loud and clear. Enough is enough!

  13. I am a member of CGCC since more than a year . The club and the fantastic trainer Dany have literally turned me into a healthier and knee pain free person . I don’t know where I would be today without them . Not knowing any details of the apparent legal battle and who is right and who is wrong , I personally cannot help but get the impression the city may run a smear campaign to turn
    The location into a more lucrative object.

  14. Put aside for the moment who is right and who is wrong.

    The City Manager Peter Iglesias and the City Attorney Miriam Ramos have handled this matter very badly. Their plan backfired. The receiver wants to remove the police from the front of the CGCC. The CGCC is still operating.

    Peter Iglesias and Miriam Ramos, as usual, have wasted more and more of taxpayers hard earned dollars. Remember the Mobility Hub and the Wawa?

    Both must go.

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