Thomas Kramer, the high-flying German real estate investor and partier who has called Miami Beach home for nearly two decades, lives a lavish lifestyle, doling out nearly $50,000 a month for his personal expenses and about the same amount for upkeep of his home.
But that’s after drastically cutting back on his spending, giving up his boat and selling off valuable artwork and furnishings, while he lives off his last $300,000.
His butler is now freelance, and his maid, maintenance man and housekeeper no longer come every day. He said he has $3.8 million in unpaid bills, including $1.8 million in real estate taxes.
And when his money runs out, he will “declare bankruptcy, probably,” and live off his friends and family, he said during a deposition related to a $108 million-plus, still-unpaid judgment from 2007.
The 226-page deposition, first reported in a New Times blog on Monday, describes the life of Kramer, whose antics over the years have led to sexual harassment allegations and other messy legal wranglings. He alleges that he is the victim of embezzlement by his former accountant, and has sued her along with a former partner.
Now, fearful of having his money frozen to pay creditors in the Swiss judgment, Kramer is financing his lifestyle and upkeep on his Star Island mansion through a convoluted series of wire payments, according to the deposition taken Dec. 17, 2013, in the Coral Gables offices of attorneys Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton, who represent plaintiffs in litigation against Kramer dating back 20 years.
Asked by Throckmorton about a loan he made to a firm in Dubai called Alpha Beta Universal, Kramer said he was “avoiding frozen funds again, because with frozen funds I can’t pay bills, and that sucks.”
Kramer’s funds at numerous banks in England, as much as 15 million pounds (equal to $24.9 million) in 2000, have been frozen, related to the Swiss judgment that stemmed from real estate disputes between Kramer and Siegfriend Otto, who died in 1997. His daughters and heirs, Verena Von Mitschke-Collande and Claudia Miller-Otto inherited the judgment, which was affirmed as enforceable by high-level Swiss courts and then the Circuit Court of the 11th Judicial Circuit in Miami-Dade in 2007.
With no job and no income, Kramer lives on money he has wired from “Noman,” at Alpha Beta Universal in Dubai, he said in the deposition. His primary source of funds has just $300,000 remaining. He also gets paid — sometimes in cash — when he rents out the backyard of his home for photo shoots, parties and events.
His money comes in and goes right back out to pay bills, he said in the nearly six-hour deposition. It’s all handled out of an account for his company, TK International. “It’s like one big burning machine,” Kramer said, referring to burning through money.
Yet he values his homes at 4 and 5 Star Island at as much as $55 million. He built and moved into 5 Star Island in 1995 and bought 4 Star Island about a year later, and uses it as his office. The homes were transferred to an entity called Skipworth that has taken out a $12 million mortgage from a Swiss lender. The plaintiffs Throckmorton represents also hold two mortgages on the properties, according to the transcript. Miami-Dade records show he owes almost $2.2 million in property taxes.
Kramer’s attorney, Michael Heidt, who attended the deposition, was “unavailable,” his office said. Throckmorton declined to comment.
Kramer’s life has certainly taken twists over the years. On his LinkedIn page, Kramer calls himself a “Global Networker- Philanthropist-Real Estate Visionary & Public Speaker.”
In the deposition, Kramer describes a life spent traveling around the world, attending the Cannes Film Festival in France, the Golden Globes in Los Angeles and Elton John’s White Tie and Tiara Ball in England. He also traveled to Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Viet Nam. His more recent expenses, he said, totaled $2 million, all financed by a $3.3 million inheritance he received from his father, who died in June 2012.
Kramer spent another $1 million of the inheritance paying past-due bills for upkeep on his Star Island home and repaying loans, including $100,000 each to his “neighbor and best friend” Marc Iacovelli and Maria Celeste, the transcript says. Kramer drives a Range Rover that he used to own — he sold it to Iacovelli a few years ago. He also has a bicycle that his brother bought at Costco for “149 bucks.”
Early last year, he had to cut his household expenses from $150,000 a month to less than $50,000, and let his boat be repossessed. He has about 20 inactive companies, “from development times in the early ’90s, you know, before you guys [bleeped] it all up,” he told Throckmorton during the deposition.
He says he does not provide financial support for his 21-year-old daughter from the wife he divorced in 1995. “Thank God I married rich,” he said during the deposition. But he did buy her Christian Louboutin shoes as a bribe to go biking with him.
In 2013, Kramer went on quite a travel spree. He has “10” girlfriends in Dubai, and spent about two months there, staying in a hotel. He also spent at least three weeks in Doha, Qatar, staying at Prince Ali Qatar’s palace, and spent time at his friend Christian Jagodzinski’s home in Saint-Tropez. He also stayed in Athens at a friend’s place, and spent a week in Turkey on another friend’s boat for “a big wedding,” the transcript says.
At one time, Kramer had a timeshare in Aspen, personal watercraft, and loads of valuable artwork. When they were auctioned at Sotheby’s and Christie’s, he had to pay thousands just to cover the cost of transportation.
“Whenever you buy something it’s so great, it’s so beautiful and then when you try to sell it, good luck, if it’s not Picasso, of course, you know,” he said during the deposition. “That makes you even sicker.”