Peebles affiliate fails to fend off $1m Bath Club penalty

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A photo illustration of Don Peebles with 5959 Collins Avenue (left) and 5937 Collins Avenue (right) (Getty, Google Maps)

An entity linked to developer Don Peebles is on the hook again for $1 million after a court rejected its latest attempt to fight sanctions over a dispute at the Bath Club in Miami Beach.

Peebles’ Bath Club Entertainment owns the historic, private membership club, which dates back to 1926, and most of the common areas on the 5-acre property at 5937 Collins Avenue. But since 2007, Bath Club Entertainment has been engaged in numerous legal battles, some of which have been resolved, with the condominium and maintenance associations for The Residences at the Bath Club, the 118-unit complex that its Peebles Corporation developed. to the side.

In one of the disputes, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Michael Hanzman fined Bath Club Entertainment last year $1 million for failing to provide outdoor dining services. to condo owners or to repair and maintain the property’s cabanas at a world level. class station. Even when catering service was provided, it was sub-par, Hanzman wrote in his order issued in February last year.

Bath Club Entertainment appealed to a higher court but lost in September, when a three-judge panel said its claims had “no merit”. Bath Club Entertainment suffered another loss last week when their request for a rehearing of the September ruling was denied.

“[Peebles] had the temerity to file a motion for a rehearing and a rehearing en banc, claiming that the court was wrong in the first notice, even though it found its positions to be unfounded,” Steve said. Silverman, one of the attorneys for the condo and maintenance associations. .

An en banc request is for all the judges of the court of appeal to hear the case, instead of just the three-judge panel.

Silverman represented the associations with Alan Kluger of the law firm Kluger Kaplan, as well as Eugene Stearns and Albert Lichy of Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson.

“It is unfortunate that this is the decision,” said Glen Waldman, attorney for Bath Club Entertainment. “We understand it and we respect it. … Judgment will be satisfied.

For his part, Peebles maintains that the associations have lost “90%” of the legal battles, but have not kept the inhabitants informed of this “reality”, he writes in a press release sent by e-mail. Bath Club Entertainment’s past wins, including attorneys’ fees, add up to far more than the million dollars in penalties the associations just won, he said.

The councils “spread information and totally mislead their residents who never get complete information… [It] reminds me of a propaganda-driven dictatorship,” he said.

Bath Club Entertainment posted $1 million bail after Hanzman’s decision, a standard decision when a trial court’s order is on appeal, according to attorneys for both sides.

That means the condo and maintenance associations, which will split the payment of the penalties, will only have to sue the bonding provider for the funds, Kluger said.

The sanctions are the latest twist in a 15-year dispute between Peebles and the two associations.

A lawsuit filed in 2007 by the condo association ended in a settlement in 2010, which stated that future disputes would be submitted to arbitration. So when a dispute arose a few years later, an arbitration committee ruled in 2013 that Bath Club Entertainment was responsible for the hut, as well as the catering services. Among other provisions, the ruling also required Bath Club Entertainment to obtain and show proof of liability insurance when hosting parties at the property.

The associations complained that Bath Club Entertainment was failing to meet its responsibilities outlined in the arbitration order, according to court filings. Although they initially lost a lawsuit to compel them to comply, they ultimately won their case in 2017 in an order that fined Bath Club Entertainment $1,000 for each day it failed. not provide shack restoration and maintenance services, records show.

A year later, the associations again alleged that Bath Club Entertainment was not complying. Hanzman heard the complaint in late 2020 and issued the $1 million penalty order the following February. The judge, however, did not find that Bath Club Entertainment failed to comply with the proof of liability insurance requirement.

Peebles and other representatives of Bath Club Entertainment testified in court that the entity did not provide snack bar service at the property, Hanzman wrote in his order.

Hanzman ruled that Bath Club Entertainment failed to comply from December 20, 2017, to December 10, 2020, for just over $1 million under the 2017 order imposing a fine of $1,000. per day.

Previous battles have run the legal gamut. In 2018, Bath Club Entertainment sued the associations and two condo board members for trying to foil a sale and buy the property themselves for a lowball offer of $10 million, less than the initial asking price of $30 million and an offer of $17 million from a potential buyer. , according to the complaint. Records show Bath Club Entertainment dropped the lawsuit in October.

In another dispute, Bath Club Entertainment scored a victory in September when the court upheld the entity owed approximately $132,000, an award made in arbitration by the maintenance association over its liability to provide valet parking to Bath Club customers, records show. The arbitration committee ruled that the maintenance association should provide valet parking at the entrance to the Bath Club, but the club was denied other demands, such as free valet parking, a Silverman said.

Generally considered the premier private social club in the Southeast. In the United States, the Bath Club in its heyday of the 1920s had William Vanderbilt II and former President Herbert Hoover among its members, but was off-limits to blacks and Jews, Forbes reported.

Peebles, one of America’s most prominent black developers, bought it through an affiliate in 1999. Using another affiliate, he developed the 19-story, 118-unit condo next door at 5959 Collins Avenue. While the condo association is responsible for the residential building, the maintenance association oversees some of the shared amenities.

Last year Peebles reopened the Bath Club after years of refurbishment.

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