Gale moved in while his purchase contract was pending before lending agencies. He said the developer, Nicholas Morley, urged him to make the early move.
That was more than two years ago. The contract has yet to be approved. Gale has yet to pay for the condominium. "I have waited for approximately two years for the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.) to honor my written contract, " Gale said in his written response.
In fact, the FDIC has sued to have Gale evicted. The judge has countersued.
Condo units comparable to Gale's large one currently sell for $690,000, without improvements.
On Dec. 3, 1986, Gale got a purchase contract for the large condo.
The agreed price: $276,800.
At the time, those units were selling for about $500,000.
On Sept. 19, 1989, attorneys for the FDIC filed a lawsuit against Gale in Miami federal court. That suit is pending.
Case No. 89-1980 accuses Gale of unlawfully occupying Unit 1101 of Villa Regina.
Gale has unlawfully possessed the unit for several years without paying rent, condominium fees or real estate taxes, the suit claims. Throughout his wrongful occupation "defendant Gale has benefited and has been unjustly enriched at the expense of the FDIC, " its attorneys claim.
Attorneys further charge that defendant Gale has "wrongly secured benefits" that would be "unconscionable for him to retain."
FDIC attorneys want Gale evicted from the property. They also want compensatory damages and a court order forcing Gale to pay all back taxes, rents, condominium fees, interest, court costs and attorney fees.
Gale argues that his contract is valid, it met with the developer's approval and he has every right to occupy the unit.
How Gale came to possess the condo is at the heart of the federal civil suit.
The suit indicates that Gale got the condo at a bargain- basement price. Records also show that his contract on the condo came four months after developer Morley defaulted on the construction loan.
That loan came from the ill-fated Continental Illinois National Bank. When Continental went belly-up and Morely defaulted, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. moved in.
The FDIC uses public tax money to insure bank deposits. When a bank fails, as in the Continental Illinois case, the FDIC steps in to seize assets and help with damage control. This is done to minimize the amount of bank losses that taxpayers have to absorb.
So, in effect, it was up to the FDIC to try to recoup the bankrupt bank's $34 million loan -- plus interest.
FDIC attorneys argue that Gale's contract isn't any good because neither Continental Illinois nor the FDIC ever approved it.
To save taxpayers' money, FDIC attorneys wanted the judge to pay fair-market value for his condo.
So last May, FDIC attorneys offered Gale a deal: Pay $500,000 for the large unit, give up any claim to the smaller one, and we won't go to court.
Gale declined. The FDIC filed a lien.
One day recently, Gale drove away from the Dade County Courthouse in a 1989 midnight-blue Jaguar XJ6. The tag on the car had expired. A day later, he arrived at a social function in an all-white 1989 Jaguar XJ6. That car had the same expired tag: MAC-17G.
Not long ago, Gale was driving a white Jaguar with a new license plate: MDM-76C.
Both license plates -- the expired and the new -- are from cars registered to The Collection, the luxury auto emporium with several Miami outlets.