In a year when an orangutan-colored casino franchiser wants to become president and grab the nation's women by their you-know-whats, it's easy to ignore the smaller local races. But it's possible that Greg Capra, a man running for city commission in tiny Sunny Isles Beach might be the most entertaining candidate in Miami's down-ballot elections.
Capra is running to unseat Dana Goldman, a real-estate attorney and former legislative assistant to Al Gore. He's running on a platform of being "responsive" to residents and has plans to decrease traffic and school congestion on the tiny barrier island.
But critics say Capra is actually running out of a desire for revenge. Goldman once sued Capra for fraud in county court, in a case that lasted from 2012 to this year, when Goldman's claim was dismissed. Now Capra has used his campaign to attack Goldman for suing him, and called her a "nightmare neighbor."
Capra's own legal history, meanwhile, also includes 911 calls for strange noise complaints and at least one alleged egg-throwing incident. Capra and his wife Nikolina are also being sued for libel in Miami-Dade County Court.
Capra, age 60, dropped out of college after two years to go into auto repair and later became a successful stock-market trader. Now he's the president of the Poinciana Island Yacht & Racquet Club — the same condo complex where his opponent lives.
In 2012, Goldman sued Capra and the condo board in Miami-Dade County Court, accusing Capra and others of making decisions in secret meetings "in violation of the Florida Condominium Act." She accused Capra of personally orchestrating a "malice-driven conspiracy" to harass her after she asked "too many questions" about the alleged scheme.
Her case was dismissed with prejudice this past June after the parties settled out of court.
"She initiated a lawsuit saying people were getting payoffs from managers, a slew of different things. It went on for years," Capra says. "In the end, none of it was true."
Goldman did not respond to a request for comment from New Times. In October, she told the Miami Herald that Capra's focus on the old lawsuit was a "red herring."
Capra's own legal history includes numerous encounters with Sunny Isles Beach Police. According to documents New Times obtained from the police department, Capra has been involved in at least 14 separate interactions with local cops since 2009. Some of the police calls were innocuous, such as one for a natural death and another to report that his cleaning woman had stolen his watch.
But many other incidents involved run-ins with the Capras' next-door neighbor, Sarah Anderson, whom he'd spent years trying to evict.
"We had neighbors here, one who obviously was a nightmare neighbor," Capra says. "She would blast her TV in the middle of the night and curse my wife out. We called the police. It was ongoing for a long time."
Records show the condo association brought foreclosure proceedings against Anderson in 2012, alleging she owed more than $27,000 in maintenance fees. The Capras say Anderson also repeatedly called the cops to their home to harass them.
But in multiple written incident reports, police said the Capra family was often acting rowdy as well.
According to one 2012 incident report, Capra's wife was allegedly blasting the Maroon 5 song "Moves Like Jagger" around midnight April 8 of that year. Anderson, the neighbor, then phoned in a noise complaint. But when the cops arrived and asked Capra's wife Nikolina to turn down the music, police say, she responded by becoming "very verbally abusive" with authorities. She then allegedly threw eggs at her neighbor's home.
"I tried to explain to Ms. Capra what we heard and she had to stop with the playing of the loud music," a cop writes in the report. "She became very verbally abusive with all officers on scene. She wouldn't let any of us get a word in at all and just
As the cops were walking back to their cars, they said they received another call from Anderson, who said that "objects" were being thrown at her home.
When the cops walked back to Capra's house, they "observed eggs that were thrown all over the complainant's (Ms. Anderson) back porch area. The eggs weren't there just minutes before when we were in the back area hearing the loud music."
Capra stressed to New Times that police never actually saw anyone throw
In 2012, a lawyer for the Capra family sent Sunny Isles Beach Police a letter alleging that Anderson was the one harassing them.
But the Capras have had other incidents as well: In September 2011, Sunny Isles Beach Police
After a police sergeant "explained to her the consequences of not lowering the music, it appeared she would comply with our request," an incident report reads.
In 2013, the Capras, along with the condo complex, were sued for libel. A couple living in the Capras' complex — Patricia and Joel Aresty — claim Greg Capra hand-delivered letters full of lies to other members of the Yacht & Racquet Club on official company letterhead. The Arestys say that they asked for multiple retractions and that Capra allegedly refused. (Patricia Aresty also claimed Capra had Photoshopped a picture of her to make her look fat and then encouraged people to "tell her what you think when you see her.") That suit is ongoing.
In August 2014, Capra called the cops to report that people were simply taking photographs of him. The police told Capra "there were no laws being broken" at the time and drove off.
In an incident this past February, a 911 caller complained that as he was walking around the block, "Gregory and Nikolina began using profanity at him and his wife." (Capra told police he didn't start the argument.)
Capra tells New Times that "you will notice the incidents have stopped." But records show police were last dispatched to his home October 27, just 11 days ago. The city was not able to provide New Times with a full report
The condominium complex Capra runs has also run into trouble with Miami-Dade code compliance. Capra has sat on his condominium board for the past ten years and been its president for the past eight. In that time, 11 code violations have been filed against the Poinciana Island Yacht &
Capra says most of the code violations stemmed from issues left over from past association presidents.
"I inherited these," he says, "and I rectified them. There were tens of thousands of fines that I took care of." He adds, "The violations that are here were violations that preceded my time here. I'm getting them cleaned up, and the city is grateful."
City documents show that between 1990 and 2007, no violations were filed against the property.
During divorce proceedings that began in 2000, Capra's now-ex-wife filed two temporary restraining orders against him, one in 2000 and one in 2004.
"My ex-wife and I certainly had differences," Capra says. "She may have asked for that just to build her case with the judge. But I paid my ex-wife an exorbitant amount of money. She got all new cars, medical bills paid. I've taken care of my ex-wife and children fabulously. The business between her and I is in the past. We’re all good."
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On October 17, Capra sent an email implying that former City Commissioner Roz Brezin had endorsed him. In an op-ed written for the Sunny Isles Beach Reporter, an independent blog, Brezin said that there were "several inaccuracies" in Capra's email and that she'd never given him her support. She also said Capra has never actually attended a city commission meeting.
"As far as Greg Capra and I becoming good friends, I cannot establish a friendship with anyone who misrepresents what I say," Brezin wrote. Capra has fought with multiple Reporter readers in the website's comments.
But Capra declined to tell New Times that his opponent is doing a poor job running the city government.
"I’m not saying that she’s not suited to do this," he says. "I just feel that I can do a much better job."