We Were Lied To. City Manager Peter Iglesias Secretly Negotiating With Barreto Holdings For Country Club Management. Again.

Ariel Fernandez

Founder & Editor
[email protected]

On May 2nd at 10:00AM, the City of Coral Gables took possession of the Coral Gables Country Club, as agreed to in the Commission approved settlement agreement with Coral Grand, LLC.

Sources who were present said the process was “seamless and amicable.”

Shortly after the transfer, a sign went up at the Club stating that the club was “under new ownership.” The proper term should have been “under new management,” as the City has always been and remains its owner. The sign added that the Country Club would be closed for the entire month of May.

Gables Insider reached out to City Hall at the time of the transfer and did not receive a response from the City until after 6:00PM. The response was a copy of a letter sent by City Manager Peter Iglesias to 348 neighbors of the club.

Letter From Iglesias To Residents

The letter reads, ” As a neighbor of the Coral Gables Golf and Country Club, I believe it is important to give you an update regarding the facility. Today the city began operating this iconic and historic property and we are currently conducting a complete building assessment to determine repair and maintenance needs. Our goal is to reopen as soon as possible. Following our assessment, termite tenting will take place which will have a slight impact on the current roofing project. Additional repairs and improvements including pool and landscaping are also planned which will enhance and beautify the facility. We are also pleased to announce that the current leased fitness equipment will be maintained until the new state-of-the-art Technogym equipment arrives. We are working with current fitness instructors to provide temporary access to the War Memorial Youth Center fitness center so that they may be able to continue to serve clients. Two open houses are planned for later this month, we look forward to welcoming you. Please visit www.coralgables.com/CoralGablesGolfandCountryClub to review membership opportunities. Should you need additional information please reach out to [email protected].”

Lies And Rumors

For weeks, there have been rumors circulating at City Hall that City Manager Peter Iglesias was looking to revive the negotiations for an outside operator for the Coral Gables Country Club. Iglesias had been laying the groundwork by reiterating the numbers from a proposal by Barreto Holdings, claiming it would cost the City $5 million to get the Country Club operational.

However, the reality seems to be far from Iglesias’ lies to residents and the Commission. In fact, sources inform Gables Insider that the only thing the City will be doing to “fix” the Club is a routine termite tenting, after which the Club will be ready to reopen its doors to the public.

The City was able to keep all furniture and gym equipment, so that no closure of the athletic club or the rental spaces will be necessary.

Iglesias’ New Secret Deal

This evening, Gables Insider was able to confirm that the Manager has been in secret negotiations with Barreto Holdings, for the second time this year.

Following community uproar when Barreto Holding’s plans for the club were first made public by Gables Insider, the Commission made it clear to residents that the Club would be managed and operated by the City’s Community Recreation Department.

As you will recall, Barreto Holding’s initial proposal called for the development of a steakhouse, exclusive memberships with a $12,000 initiation charge and $950 per month fee, and a minimum 15 months closure for construction. (Click here to see Barreto Holding’s initial proposal).

Residents’ opinions were taken into account by the Commission, who informed the Manager and promised residents that the Club would remain as it is today, affordable to all, with no restaurant and without a closure.

In fact, residents were led to believe that recent litigation against Coral Grand, LLC was done with the purpose of limiting the closure of the Club and ensuring continuity and a smooth transition. The accusations made by the City in its legal motions against Coral Grand, LLC, at Iglesias’ behest, were never corroborated. Actually, the City paid Coral Grand, LLC a settlement of $295,000 avoiding an evidentiary hearing that would have required the City provide evidence to corroborate Iglesias’ accusations.

Now, Iglesias, as reported last week has made it a point to go against the desires of residents and the Commission. From the forceful push for the controversial Mobility Hub, to the dismissive behavior towards members of the Commission during Commission meetings, to his backroom deal for Burger Bob’s without Commission knowledge, Iglesias has been testing the resolve of his bosses on the City Commission every step of the way.

He has decided to defy the desires of the Commission and of residents once again, while pursuing his own plan to bring an outside vendor to run the Club.

The question remains, will the Commission continue to allow for Iglesias to deceive them and residents of the City? Prior Commissions threatened action against City Managers due to similar issues, which brought the resignations of Iglesias’ two immediate predecessors.

Gables Insider has learned that the Country Club management will be discussed at the May 10th City Commission meeting.

Gables Insider reached out to Rodney Barreto for comment, but he could not be reached prior to publication. After this article was published, Barreto replied to Gables Insider stating that his “attorney requested a meeting” in order to discuss “a variety of things. We do a lot of business in the Gables and are looking to do more.”


38 thoughts on “We Were Lied To. City Manager Peter Iglesias Secretly Negotiating With Barreto Holdings For Country Club Management. Again.

  1. Folks should not be permitted to post anything without providing their full names. It serves no purpose to make offensive statements and accuse elected officials of corruption without identifying themselves. Come on people we should be better than this!

  2. To “Another Gables Man sick and tired”:
    Realize this is not on topic, but which North Gables areas are you talking about? We live on Columbus off Venetia and we paid the $902 garbage fee last year. We paid around the same amount in previous years. I would also love to know if there is a section not paying.

  3. Gables Man and Sick of CG
    You are both right everyone needs to show up at the next commission meeting and scare the s*** out of those elected wimps and demand firings. But we also need to have our voices heard at election time. My philosophy is never vote for an incumbent they will be entrenched and lining their pockets with cash!
    Ariel you are incredible without you we would have no one exposing the lies and shenanigans in the City of Coral Gables, f/n/a The City Beautiful.
    Also, have you been able to investigate why no one in the North Gables pays the $900 per year garbage fee?

  4. Folks, you have to deal with this fact: The Florida municipal official recall statute which is Section 100.361 is nearly impossible to use to remove anyone from office.

    Those of you calling for a recall, read the statute!

    The only remedy other than uncovering criminal activity is to find persons with gravitas to run against the incumbents in the April 2023 election

    Folks, recruit those persons! Period.

  5. The 4 commissioners and the mayor are very timid. The will not fire Peter Iglesias, Miriam Ramos, and Ramon Trias.

    The residents must do it. Recall the timid “leaders”. Put in a new government. It will take care of the 3 bad actors.

  6. Garbage in, garbage out.

    Surprise again.

    “As part of an ongoing effort to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Coral Gable$.
    The city of Coral Gable$ is able to maintain it’s title “the city beautiful” with the help of it’s citizens.
    We appreciate your…cooperation.”

    Just like next door here, a perpetual dumpster.

  7. Disgraceful… and to the comment of the Knights of Columbus… don’t be fooled that operator is no different than Iglesias. Undervaluing the value of the venue, while lining his pockets. Really Matt Brophy you should do your research and see your organization is also being take for a ride.

  8. I went to the mat for Lago and supported 2 winning Commissioners. NOT ANYMORE. I will fight to get every single Commissioner and Mayor Lago removed in the next election. Oh, and with them the slimy City Manager. I have had it. 32 years in Coral Gables and you all have destroyed our City. I have no respect for any of you and we will start a ground swell to get all of you voted out. You need to listen to US as you work for us. Sick of Coral Gables and your under the table dealings. Not one of you, including Lago, have come out and addressed the mess you are creating.

  9. It is ALWAYS about $$$$. It has nothing to do with people. They couldn’t care less, and all the protesting won’t help to change anything when there are millions of dollars involved. The Gables is changing drastically due to big money. It will never be the same. And you can’t call the City Beautiful in a couple of years. The traffic is obscene. All the new construction with high rises will change the face of this town forever. If real architects were involved, it could be better. But when you get “developers” involved, it ends up being about money and not design or beauty. That’s just the way it is and has always been. Sorry everyone. It’s really very sad. My heart breaks over what they are going to do to the Country Club, which has always needed to be rejuvenated and have better quality everything. Even the fitness center they had there was all about money… they didn’t care about their members either. My husband was dying and they wouldn’t let me end my membership even for 3 months. Despicable. But in the end, as hard as it is, I feel sorry for all these people who only think about money. In the end, they are the ones who will suffer for selling their souls.

  10. Shhhh.Is that the band I hear playing ‘Nearer, my God, to thee’? Is the ship sinking? Dear God this is the beginning of the end.Good bye Peter.

  11. Thank you, Ariel, for your tireless efforts in flushing out shenanigans in the Gables.
    Peter and Miriam are just malleable errand persons for Lago. They do not have any personal convictions.

  12. The City Manager is following orders so after he retires/is ousted he can slide right into a job for John Ruiz the employer of the majority of the City Commission.
    Regarding the “rescue of the I’ll planned Miracle Mile renewal project” (sic), that disaster was shoved down the throats of the property owners with little real input or review. It is now failing because of foolish design decisions and lack of maintenance that the City is now trying to foist on the property and business owners. Its quite possible they are in cahoots with Terranova and a few of the other large property owners in trying to drive of all the “undesirables” little businesses bankrupt so they can pick up the rest of the properties for a song, get the Planning Director to make a few more mistakes, and create the concrete corporate canyon they desire.

  13. I think you are right.
    Peter Iglesias is taking all the heat but he is secretly doing what the Mayor and Commissioners really want but do not publicly say. Never trust what Politicians say, they are only saying what you want to hear to get themselves re-elected.

  14. Do not be fooled by thinking Iglesias is behind this. Iglesias is, and has always been since his City of Miami days, a doormat for politicians.
    He is a yes man, and does what he is told. Therefore, someone is telling him to get stuff done, and most likely one (or more) of the politicians is behind it. Don’t believe for a second that he is the leader in this whole ordeal.

  15. This man is a tumor growing inside the city beautiful. This city is blowing money left and right. Example: every department has assistant director that are appointed by him and they don’t have the capacity of dealing with people, just like Iglesia. This man needs to go Mr. Mayor make sure you do something about this or you are next. I want to see my tax money put to good use. Us the residents need the top service that we have always had during all these years.The last 4 years, everywhere in this city have become a nightmare to live here.
    Sincerely a concerned resident of 30 years.

  16. It’s not that the residents are in favor of the city running the facility. Residents (the ones I know) are opposed to the tactics Iglesias/mayor/comissioners/city attorney/asset manager/etc. used to get the prior tenants out to further their own agenda. A private entity will be better than the city running the place without a doubt, but that’s not the point. It’s the lies, deception, strong arming, and who knows what else city officials engaged in to get to the current situation. They’re setting it up so that a specific individual can take over.

    We definitely need new people in city government.

  17. If you all think Pete is smart enough to act this out all on his own, they have you fooled. All of this is from the Mayor and Commission. Please look deeper into where money is going and how projects get distributed. You will find that all roads lead to Lago. Peter is just a mouth piece for Lago and the Commission. I agree Peter is shady and incompetent but the Commission and Mayor like it that way. So when the heat is turned up they can fire him and show what a good job they are doing by cleaning house. As far as I am concerned the fish stinks from the head. They all need to go. Hopefully Election Day will show this.

  18. The Recreation Department can run the Athletic Club and the proposed fee structure approved by the Commission seems adequate, I look forward to getting back in the pool. As far as the Ballroom venue and restaurant that needs to be contracted to a private entity. The City Government has no experience in these types of competitive venues. As a member of the Knights of Columbus in Coral Gables, we successfully contracted a vendor who has done an awesome job. We are able to continue to maintain our facility and generate funds for all the charities we support. Hope the City moves forward in a cost effective way; track record is dubious concerning the City owned golf courses.

  19. Ariel,

    Peter Iglesias is highly respected as an honest structural engineer who has substantially improved the infrastructure of the City of Coral Gables, beGinning with the rescue of the I’ll planned Miracle Mile renewal project and, most recently taking on the termination of the Country Club contract, signed at a time of duress for the City with very f.adorable terms for the operator which was no longer justifiable.He is a bureaucrat, not a politician and his intense promotion of the Brickell style mobility hub is, in my opinion, a bad move that has cost him dearly. But the sudden intensity of your one sided attack makes me wonder whose hatchet job are you executing?

  20. Loretta K., your comment regarding “Tony M.” is right on! What a snob. And interesting how everything needs to be politicalized nowadays. Immediately and everywhere. What the Democratic Party has to do with any of this would be interesting to find out from him.

  21. Ariel…thank you so much for excellent reporting and keeping the residents of CG informed! Keep it up!

  22. Lets all quickly goose step into our nearest private club so we can be surrounded by like minded dolts.

  23. To Tony M. “undesirables” are people with attitudes like yours. What a snob.

  24. Shame that the same residents that complain about taxes, spending and mismanagement are in favor of having the City run this ‘club’. The private sector will do it better, be it Barreto or anyone else. We’re already seeing the big mistake of having the city take over. They’ll be serving a cold omelets with a side of pensions and protected by a union. the manager is not perfect but this is unjustified IF he indeed is seeking a private option.

  25. Ariel, thank you for bringing this to light. Although it really is NOT a surprise. Iglesias and company wanted to get Liberty Group out no matter what in order to bring Barreto in, the question is only how long the facade of the recreation department “running” the club will continue. I’m sure we will be seeing Barreto in the facility in the not too distant future.

  26. Here’s the deal—the real deal:

    Florida’s municipal official recall statute is extremely difficult to use. The number of signatures needed, the signature verification process, the cost, and the time needed to pull off a recall make it a nonstarter.

    The real remedy is finding a candidate for Mayor who can beat Lago. Trust me. If a real electoral threat is posed to him then the lemmings on the Commission will get the message sent by the fed-up public.

    Get the candidate to defeat Lago and all this nonsense stops.

    And get serious about this. Put your real names on these posts. The Founders who signed the Declaration of Independence signed their names.

    Jack Thompson [email protected]

  27. I’m ready to sign a recall petition for any and all of commissioners and the mayor.

    With a new government, the old bad actors will be gone: Peter Iglesias, Miriam Ramos, and
    Ramon Aries.

  28. Mr. Bathroom lost his election and I thought he went away

  29. This commission is 100% aware & complicit with what is going on don’t be mislead. In this town when you have a majority mix of right leaning cubans, & attorneys running govt. citizens will be screwed. Wipe the slate clean next election or better yet someone with deep pockets step up now to recall.

  30. Seriously, this isn’t news. Anyone who is surprised by this hasn’t been paying attention to what has been happening. These people are a disgrace, all of them!

  31. The City Manager got training in corruption at the City of Miami. He secretly schemed to permit a WaWa on land intended for affordable housing. He secretly allowed a massive WaWa next to a school. What do people expect?

  32. I completely agree with Disgusted! Corruption is like a malignant tumor if you do not remove it, it will spread and consume your body. That is what has happened in the City of Coral Gables. It has spread everywhere and they all need to be removed. It is one scandal and insider deal after another and then the blatant lying and cover ups.
    What happened to living peacefully in the City Beautiful?

  33. Not surprised. This whole affair seemed predestined from the beginning. The only unexpected item is the speed. The Club would probably benefit from professional management that has nongovernmental experience as this has become an event venue, but there should be public input. The residents should decide its future, rather than an insider which seems to have been overwhelmingly rejected by local neighbors and members. However, we now seem to live in an autocracy, which is one of the reasons I left Cuba to begin with. At least here we have the chance to make a change every 2 years.

  34. The city manager is a corrupt dirt bag only looking out for his personal interests.

  35. Excellent idea. A membership fee and monthly dues eliminates the undesirables. The Venetian pool is an example. If there was a membership fee and monthly fees we would not have the crap from other parts of the county coming here to use our pool. High fees eliminate the undesirables! If you live in the Gables the fees proposed are a pittance. Stop your Democratic Party whining!

  36. The local government is Coral Gables is run by 4 small-time lawyers, a small minded mayor,
    a very corrupt city manager, an incompetent city attorney, and a corrupt director of planning and zoning.

    Coral Gables’ residents deserve that kind of government, because they do nothing to throw them out.

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