The future of one of the most storied buildings in Miami Beach is once again in question as the owner of Casa Casuarina, still widely known as the Versace mansion, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy at the beginning of this month. It's just the latest chapter in the building's recent troubled financial history.
It's all a complicated, messy money battle, so let's try to break it down real nice and easy.
- Peter Loftin, former telecom tycoon, currently owns the property, but his mortgage on the place is in default. He has the property on the market for a pricey $75 million (though that's down from the original $125 million asking price).
- The Nakash family, which made its money off the decidedly un-Versace-like Jordache jeans brand, owns the bank note representing the mortgage debt on the place and is trying to foreclose on the property through the courts, but that case is lagging. The Nakashes claimed Loftin is intentionally trying to stall the foreclosure case in order to sell the property outright.
- Loftin, however, hasn't paid down the debt since 2010 because he claims that the Nakashes and the German bank where they bought the bank note were involved in some "conspiracy" against him, and that the bank note was fraudulent.
- Casa Casuarina LLC, of which Loftin is the majority owner, officially filed for bankruptcy July 1.
- According to the South Florida Business Journal, a Nakash company, VM South Beach, filed an injunction that same day claiming Loftin had let the property go underinsured and at one point even left it uninsured. They're now asking the court to appoint a trustee to manage the building while the foreclosure case plays out.
- Loftin admits to SFBJ that he is only now in the process of obtaining new windstorm coverage after a policy owned by his former tenant Villa by Barton G. lapsed.
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Who doesn't like some light real-estate/legal-drama reading in the middle of the afternoon? There's also some other legal drama stemming from the fact that Ponzi schemer Steven Rothstein had invested in the property, but let's not get into that right now.
So the future of the building is now very much in the hands of the courts. As for what the Nakashes plan to do if they wrestle control of the famed manse: Well, they already own three hotels on Ocean Drive.