Prosecutors declined to comment for this story, as did representatives of the Florida Housing Finance Corp., which administers the federally funded low-income housing tax-credit program, known as LIHTC.
Greer, Carlisle’s chief executive officer, represented by prominent defense attorneys Roy Black and Hy Shapiro, could not be reached for comment after messages were left at his Miami office.
Boggio, who was appointed by former Gov. Jeb Bush to Florida’s Affordable Housing Study Commission, did not return messages left at his office. A Carlisle secretary said Boggio has retired from the company.
Attorney Conrad Boyle, representing Runyan, did not return two messages left at his law firm. Runyan’s adult son Brad, the company president, said his father, who founded the family-run firm in 1995, was out of town.
The family’s firm, BJ&K, is suspected of completing numerous affordable-housing projects below the reported costs that formed the basis for the tax credits obtained by Carlisle, according to sources familiar with the federal probe. Carlisle and the contractor then split the resulting profits in some fashion, the sources said.
Whenever a developer delivers a project below cost, the company is required to notify the state and return any extra tax credits initially approved by the Florida Housing Finance Corp., according to the agency.
The tax-credit program, approved by Congress as part of the 1986 Tax Reform Act to spur the development of affordable housing, is especially lucrative for investors — usually banks and other financial firms — because they can deduct the credits over many years dollar-for-dollar from their actual tax obligations, rather than as just deductions.
Generally, the IRS grants tax credits to the developer, who sells the credits to investors. Those credits typically are capped at 9 percent of the project’s construction costs.
With the influx of investment capital, the developer can limit how much he or she needs to borrow. The result: lower debt that allows for lower rents.
Tax-credit applications are reviewed on a project-by-project basis by the Florida Housing Finance Corp., which doles them out under strict IRS guidelines. This year, the state agency has about $43 million in tax credits to allocate, based on Florida’s population.
Kevin Tatreau, director of the agency’s multifamily development programs, said affordable housing units have become extremely desirable over the past decade as many Floridians’ incomes have failed to keep pace with rising housing costs. Concurrently, the tax-credit program has become fiercely competitive for affordable-housing developers. The state now receives proposals seeking credits worth seven times Florida’s allocation.
Alfredo Duran, deputy director of the city’s community and economic development department, said the subsidies allow the developer to offer affordable rents from $400 to $800 a month for housing that is both practical and modern.
“It gives a great opportunity to folks who otherwise wouldn’t be able to live in such a healthy environment,” he said.
During the real estate boom and subsequent bust, Carlisle cultivated a reputation as being one of the best affordable-housing developers.
Among its most notable projects:
• Villa Patricia, three white-and-blue towers with 339 apartments for elderly residents. Carlisle developed the project, at Northeast Second Avenue and 79th Street in Little Haiti, with Biscayne Housing Group. Built by BJ&K, the project cost a total of $74 million. Investors put in $57.5 million, and received $6.7 million in federal tax credits.
• Royalton Hotel, a 1923 Italian Renaissance Revival-style landmark in downtown Miami. Carlisle rehabilitated the property at 131 SE First St. and created 100 single-room-occupancy units for former homeless people, along with a community center, library and computer lab. The $18.5 million project, which won a 2010 National Preservation Award, was developed with Carrfour Supportive Housing. Investors put in about $9.7 million, and received $1 million in tax credits.
• Brownsville Transit Village, a mixed-income affordable housing development on six county-owned acres next to the Metrorail station. The 467-unit complex, 5200 NW 29th Ave., has a community clubhouse, fitness center and computer lab, for both families and senior citizens. The project, built by BJ&K, cost $100 million, with nearly $79 million coming from investors who received $7.5 million in tax credits.
• Northwest Gardens, a 14-block distressed area near downtown Fort Lauderdale. Carlisle teamed up with the Fort Lauderdale Housing Authority to redevelop the impoverished 30-acre neighborhood into low-rise buildings with 559 rental apartments. The project, which is being built by BJ&K, cost $109 million. Investors received $9.1 million in tax credits.