In North Bay Village, Fraud and Witchcraft Haunt a Condo Building

There are lots of condo association spats and scams in the tiny, scandal-ridden hamlet of North Bay Village. Most of them are pretty boring. That's because most of them don't involve a wrathful warlock.

A group of condo owners at South Treasure Drive's North Bay Villas want their property manager, Fernando Laracuente, fired. "He has utilized [condo] association resources for his personal gain, and he refuses to give up," resident Andrea Gomez says.

A group of condo owners at South Treasure Drive's North Bay Villas want their property manager, Fernando Laracuente, fired. "He has utilized [condo] association resources for his personal gain, and he refuses to give up," resident Andrea Gomez says.

Their accusations: That he collected $7,000 to repair the building's cooling tower, but it doesn't have a cooling tower. That he illegally charged tenants $500 to own dogs. That he's been pocketing laundry-room repair funds, has the building three months in arrears to the pool maintenance company, and that all of that cash and more went to his October 2009 purchase of a $363,000, three-bedroom Kendall house. In June, cops investigated and arrested the 36-year-old, who also goes by Ferdinand Resto, for notary fraud, saying he falsely doctored his own contract.

Laracuente's lawyer, David Edelstein, says there's "no basis" for any of the allegations, claiming the arresting officer is friends with Laracuente's condo nemeses: "This is one of those condo-commando white-hot disagreements between factions of a condo association, but what's disturbing is the involvement of public officials."

The situation got stranger last week when tenants found a flyer posted on every door and littering the parking lot, declaring Laracuente's enemies were "annoying bitches" and continued, "All they know how to do is create chaos. Oh, daughters of Lucifer, that ye have been born... only for procreation purposes and to favor evil. We damn our luck for these people joining our community."

Plastered in the middle of the flyer was clip art of a witch's head. Laracuente is listed online as a wicca-practicing board director of the Association of Independent Pagans. And the missive was signed only by the North Bay Villas Condominium Association, of which he is a member.

"Laracuente is truly deranged and needs to be committed," says Adriana Caraballo, a tenant named in the flyer.

Meanwhile, there has been "no maintenance, no cleaning, [and] no garbage collection" since the mystic shit hit the fan, says North Bay Village Vice Mayor Reinaldo Trujillo. "It's a mess. If this situation isn't irregular, I don't know the definition of the word."


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