The bottom line, here, is the Herald is promoting a bank sale constructed around walking away from $50 million in US taxpayer money. The $50 million walked away through the bank created by lobbyists and the local representatives of the Growth Machine: Sergio Pino and Ramon Rasco. Pino built a bank to match his ambitions for US Century Homes, dreamt to be the local version of Lennar: the soup to nuts Miami-based homebuilder. Oh, I forgot. According to the Herald, $5 million is to be repaid by the new investors who -- one way or another -- comprise a syndicate of the Great Destroyers.
Irony scarcely covers the issue, on a weekend commemorating the Herald as its 1 Herald Plaza site was demolished, thanks to a bottomless pile of money from Asian gamblers. That's where the one degree of separation lies. You won't read it in the Herald.
Genting was only temporarily deterred from its outsized plan to turn Miami into the Las Vegas of Latin America. It will patiently chip away at resistance to gambling until it achieves its aims.
There is plenty of detail, how Genting spreads its money around. The trio involved in the planned US Century Bank takeover -- Rok, Tate, and Perez -- all washed tens of millions for their short term -- like half a year -- investment in the subordinated debt purchased on the property adjacent to the Herald site.
To achieve its grandiose plans, Genting needed the former Omni property and the company needed agents; politically influential insiders to advance its cause; a large enough footprint for its multi-billion investment in Miami gambling.
The Genting money came at the propitious time that Perez was negotiating his name (and contribution) to the Miami Art Museum. Viewing the whole enterprise, it seems a magician trick worthy of Houdini.
It is astonishing that Jorge Perez materialized whole and was not shut down by the banks during the housing bust or otherwise held to account for the condo mess he created on the banks of the Miami River.
There must be teams of bankers grinding their teeth reading how he now appears on the pages of Forbes and America's richest men. I'd like to know what they think of "one degree of separation".
To continue the theme; it is as though US Century Bank founders, Pino and Rasco, in ginning up the worst excesses of the housing boom -- spreading platted subdivisions into wetlands, environmentally sensitive lands, and spinning public policies into carefully crafted hairballs (like the HABDI fiasco, even earlier) -- simply dissolved from the memory bank of the Miami Herald. (To be fair, the Herald never would print those stories in the first place, giving rise to blogs like ours.)
Because of our $50 TARP investment in US Century, the public deserves to know exactly whose loans cratered on the balance sheet of US Century Bank. My guess is that hundreds of millions sits in undeveloped "agricultural" lands outside the Urban Development Boundary waiting for the miracle to come: the extension of sprawl through the agency of Miami Dade Expressway Authority and the expansion of State Road 836. What are the terms of those loans? Have the borrowers -- who may have been directors of US Century Bank -- repaid their mortgage and principal according to legal obligations?
If the federal government allows the takeover of US Century Bank, by Miami insiders, these facts will vanish the same way likely as US Century debt owed to US taxpayers: the largest unpaid TARP obligation in the state of Florida.