There aren't many buildings in Miami Beach more iconic than the Blue Diamond Condominium and its sister, the Green Diamond, the tallest structures in town. With a 16,000-square-foot clubhouse, 24-hour valet service, and private tennis courts, the condo is also among the Beach's most exclusive residences -- capped by a two-story, 11-bathroom private rooftop pool penthouse on the market for $20 million.
"Located on 500 feet of pristine beachfront property," the towers' website gushes, "our 45-story condominium towers will certainly dazzle you."
But not all is sparkling inside the Blue Diamond. The condo board association elections are approaching, and for weeks leading up to the vote, condo residents have seen enough personal mudslinging to rival any of South Florida's notoriously icky political races, including allegations of sexual harassment, pool temperature manipulation, and a vague reference to the Holocaust.
It began with an anonymous letter. Sometime last month, the condo's hundreds of residents received a printed piece of paper adorned with a smiling photo of Andrew Kane, the board's sitting treasurer and a candidate for re-election to the board.
The letter called him a "toxic human being" and alleged failings ranging from sexual harassment to domestic violence to procuring an advantageous rental agreement for a Blue Diamond unit for a girlfriend. The letter even claimed he frequently fought staffers to maintain the condo's pool at a cool 69 degrees.
Kane quickly struck back with his own condo-wide address: "I love our community and the people who live here." In bullet points, Kane denied each of the letter's allegations, even addressing the pool temperature claims. ("Because of my continued insistence... they finally discovered that the chiller for the swimming pool was not operating properly.")
But in his response, Kane also took shots at board election opponents, insinuating that Alex Reus and Linda Compagnone were behind the letter. "Only a lying and manipulative coward would send out such a hateful letter without signing it," he wrote.
Kane also accused Reus and Compagnone, both sitting board members, of trying to silence him at meetings related to the upcoming election. "They were attempting to restrict my first amendment rights... My grandparents suffered this fate 75 years ago," he wrote. He also accused them of conniving to profit from condo café sales and living away from Miami much of the year.
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In a condo-wide response to Kane's letter, Reus denied he or his board allies had anything to do with the anonymous letter and strongly objected to Kane's allusion to the Holocaust.
The election is December 11. Kane declined to comment for Riptide. In an email to Riptide, Reus called the board election "a democratic and sometimes emotional process of highly motivated... successful individuals who are committed to doing the best for our property," and deferred further comment to the board's lawyer, Dave Rogel, who said any tensions among Blue Diamond board candidates were nothing exceptional for condo elections. "When elections come around emotions do tend to run high," he said. "I can tell you that both of these groups... want the same thing, the best for Blue Diamond."