For sale: a $12.6 million Bombardier Challenger jet presumably grounded at the Opa-locka Airport.
At a price around $7.5 million, it comes stocked with china glasses, monogrammed hand towels and pillows, a mini-bar, and a lap top of navigational charts.
It also carries some awful hefty baggage.
The private aircraft is the source of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case and a long-running legal battle featuring some of Miamis flashiest developers. Allegations include sham lawsuits, fraudulent financials, physical threats and shadowy legal tactics by a felonious, disbarred attorney all exposed amid a turncoat romance.
The dispute over the jet, revealed in years worth of court filings, led to a bitter breakup between Miami high-rise developer Ugo Colombo, Design District mogul Craig Robins, and the Fontainebleau hotels Soffer family. Once partners and friends in the upper echelon of Miami real estate, the trio is now embroiled in litigation as Colombo and Robins fight over the jet, with the Soffers in the middle.
I truthfully, looking back at this whole thing, made a mistake getting myself involved in this lawsuit in the first place, Jeffrey Soffer said in a deposition three years ago.
Before things went sour, Colombo and Soffer were close friends. In the 1990s, they partnered on the Porto Vita towers in Aventura. They also shared a flair for thrill-seeking and would race boats together. Soffer introduced Colombo to sky-diving.
Robins wasnt a business partner, but he was friendly enough to split a $22 million jet Colombo had purchased through UC Challenger LLC in mid-2007. They leased the plane to their respective companies, Robins Dacra and Colombos CMC Group, and hired the Soffers Turnberry Management to manage the aircraft.
For a short while, Robins and Colombo shared the jet happily. Robins flew the jet around the world.
But in late 2008, a $200,000 bill came due that Robins refused to pay, and after one month Turnberry sued.
One of Colombos attorneys, Jim Robinson, said the litigation began and continues because Robins made an investment he couldnt afford.
Our position in the lawsuit is clear: Mr. Robins bit off more than he could chew, said Robinson. As a result, he just walked out on Ugo. Thats the reality here. He walked out on Ugo and left him stuck with the plane.
Robins says the opposite: Colombo agreed to buy out Robins ownership of the plane in 2008 only to renege after the economy collapsed and after racking up a renovation bill that he tried to stick on Robins.
Ugo is in breach of his agreement with us, he wrote to Turnberry. I would suggest you not embroil Turnberry in this dispute.
When Turnberry sued, Robins countersued. The case toiled for a year. And then things got twisted.
On Dec. 15, 2009, Jeff Soffer signed a settlement agreement with Robins in which he said Colombo had already paid the bill at the heart of the lawsuit. Turnberry agreed to pay Robins $300,0000 and to cooperate with any investigation by Dacra.
That night, Samuel Burstyn, an illustrious former defense attorney who advises Colombo or allegedly runs his legal affairs behind the scenes emailed a Turnberry attorney. I think we are about to enter the Twilight Zone, he said.
Following the settlement, Jeffrey Soffer, his sister Jackie Soffer and their employees explained in depositions and affidavits that theyd sued Robins as a favor to their friend, Colombo. They said Colombo also secretly funded the litigation and had Turnberry reverse bookkeeping entries to keep his involvement off the record.