The Continuing Adventures of Martin Siskind

In which the clever con artist nearly reels in a million-dollar bonanza

Perhaps Siskind's most daring Wynwood performance was the one that enticed architect Robert Swedroe. During his career, Swedroe has designed scores of luxury condominium buildings from Las Vegas to Coral Gables, including the Las Olas Grand in Fort Lauderdale and the Blue and Green Diamonds in Miami Beach. Siskind first charmed Swedroe's son Marc by telling him about the Advocacy Foundation's charitable work. Motivated by a philanthropic impulse, Robert Swedroe agreed to help his son buy the warehouse. (The Advocacy Foundation holds a lease on the property with an option to buy.) The elder Swedroe deployed his son-in-law, attorney Howard Weinberg, to handle the deal, which was intended to provide the foundation with financial security. Weinberg sat down with Siskind and his brother Richard Siskind. "I met them and I met their mother and everything to get a feel," says the attorney. "They're very, very good at what they do, because I believed them -- for a time."

Weinberg in June created a corporation called M&M Investment Properties Group, which listed Martin Siskind and Marc Swedroe as officers. "We formed that company in anticipation of purchasing the Advocacy Foundation building," Weinberg relates. "The Swedroe family was to provide a living and working environment for emerging artists. The Swedroes are architects; they were going to design a space that worked functionally for artists."

The closing was scheduled for late November. Weinberg won't reveal how much money his father-in-law deposited toward the purchase of the warehouse, but he suggests the building's market value is at least a million dollars, which means the deposit could be $100,000 or more. The money is currently in an escrow account controlled by one of Siskind's lawyers. "As soon as we found out what type of person Siskind was, we declined to move forward," Weinberg explains. "We consider Marc Swedroe to have been defrauded because of the most important criterion in the deal from the beginning. The first thing I ever said to them: 'You've got to be the salt of the earth to do a deal with the Swedroes. That's the number-one consideration.' So I considered the deal to have been made as a result of fraudulent representation."

Now the Swedroes are preparing to take Siskind to court to dissolve M&M Investment Properties Group and recover their deposit. "It turns out that [Siskind] was a con man, and he defrauded us by telling us, among other things, that he was honest, that he was reputable, that he was beloved in the community, that he was not motivated by money, that the purpose of the not-for-profit was to help people get a second chance," Weinberg says. "All of that, it turns out, was complete bullshit."

Siskind had nothing to say about the Swedroe deal: "I don't know. You'll have to ask them."

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2 comments
Carmendano
Carmendano

I would like to know if this Martin Siskind is the same one I met in school in Forest Hills Junior Highschool about 55 years ago???

 commenter
commenter

In my experience, Richard Siskind and his son, Jon are two of the lowest forms of scum on the earth. They will get there's or perhaps they already did and that's why they are such horrible people. They lie, they cheat and lie some more...they yell and treat people w/ disrespect every day. They are only motivated by there own greed. Both only see life there way. Stay away.

 
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