By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
Never one for moderation, in the months since Mimi redeemed her white linen furniture from E-Z Pawn, ditched losers from her pre-LeBron existence, and screwed around with a few very creepy and bizarre characters. We'll call it Mimi's Great Rebound — even if it existed only in her head.
Step one of the Great Rebound: spending LeBron's money before his moving trucks arrived.
To be completely honest, Mimi never did lead the life of a pauper. In the throes of the recession in 2008 and 2009, when her net assets were a $2 bill and three lime Skittles, our girl signed up for every 29.99 percent interest Capital One card in her mailbox and made Nordstrom her bitch on a twice-weekly basis.
But in relative terms, the last two years were austere. So with the combination of LeBron's arrival and the official announcement of the end of the recession, she dug up neglected issues of the Robb Report and parsed them with a red Sharpie, circling all the baubles that caught her eye. She's been tossing around cash ever since like a freshly jail-sprung Lil Wayne at a strip club.
For years, empty condos have lined Biscayne Bay like artifacts of some era that never actually occurred. But this summer, something crazy happened: A dude moved in. His name is Russell Wright, and he is — of course — a black country-music mogul who engineered devices that track Mexicans trying to sneak across the border. His claim to New Times that he bought a $4.2 million penthouse atop the Marquis skyscraper to be closer to the revamped Miami Heat sparked a frenzy of coverage in other newspapers. Before we knew it, it was like 1999 all over again. A Versace-hosted fashion show at the Icon Brickell, where chocolate-dipped strawberries were served and then regurgitated in the bathroom three minutes later, was heralded as the "return of glamour to real estate."
Speaking of vomit, a few thousand gallons flowed when South Floridians discovered Mimi's prized Fabergé egg — the Marlins' Little Havana stadium deal — is actually garishly painted ostrich dung. (The Marlins — they're a baseball team; baseball — it's like soccer but with jai-alai sticks... ah, screw it.) Yes, it was already common knowledge that our Miami-Dade politicians screwed the pooch by agreeing to a mostly taxpayer-funded stadium — total cost, including interest: $2.4 billion — for a miserly team nobody cares about. But it wasn't until sports blog Deadspin released the Marlins' secret financials, revealing the team turned eight-figure annual profits and owner Jeffrey Loria was, therefore, a giant, horrible liar, that it was understood how Marmadukian in stature the screwed pooch was. Thanks, Mayor Carlos Alvarez!
And because Mimi had a few sweaty bills stuffed in her cleavage, she decided to spend roughly $1 million ruining some teenager's life. In summer 2009, the notion that the news cycle slows to a Zydrunas Ilgauskas when it gets too hot proved true when the entire city went crazy over the appearance of dead and mutilated housecats. An 18-year-old high school student, Tyler Weinman, was charged with the deaths after an investigation that cost more than $2,000 a day and stretched for 16 months. Then, in November, prosecutors issued an official "Oops... our bad" to Weinman after determining it was most likely dogs who killed the cats. The kid's wealthy family vows to sue the county, which will undoubtedly result in a sizable settlement shipped their way. We're going to let our 12-year-old little sister sum up this sad story: WTF?
Then there was the $200 million Miami Art Museum (art — it's like Britto but with fewer butterflies; museum — it's like a consignment store where you can't buy anything) groundbreaking downtown, right next to LeBron's new workplace. Then came the $450 million Port of Miami tunnel project that looks an awful lot like a giant concrete funnel to builders' pockets. Oh, and let's not forget the Dubai-style subtropical ski slope. It was proposed for the North Miami site of the failed Biscayne Landings project, a foreclosed condo sinking into a landfill that's supposed to be protected land. It seems the town's mayor, Andre Pierre, is a fan of piling shit on shit and calling it a delicious club sandwich. The subtropical-skiing idea inevitably went belly-up, so developers are now proposing a combination hotel and old folk's home, which makes just as much sense.
Yep, Mimi swaggered into 2011 stunna-shaded and blinged out, having mortgaged LeBron's name to the hilt. She's always been the queen of keeping up appearances: Her stomach may be rumbling for a morsel of bread, but she'll don some rented diamonds and flash that winning smile when she picks up wealthy Europeans at the airport. Welcome to Art Basel! Would you like to buy a fabulous sculpture made out of ostrich crap for $87,000?
Step two: shredding her little black book of losers.
Anybody who's ever crawled back from rock bottom knows the drill: The first thing you do is cut ties with the creeps who dragged you there in the first place. You unfriend your heroin dealer on Facebook. You delete from your cell phone all those bad-news flings you call while hammered at 3 a.m. In short, you vow never again to speak to anybody you met at Churchill's.