Coral Gables banker Raul G. Valdes-Fauli, a prominent businessman and member of an influential family both in Miami and pre-Castro Cuba, died Friday.
His family said Miami police told them that Valdes-Fauli appeared to have thrown himself off the Conrad Miami hotel on Brickell Avenue Friday morning.
Valdes-Fauli, 48, was president and CEO of Professional Bank and the son of former Coral Gables mayor Raul J. Valdes-Fauli. His father said the family was “surprised and crushed.”
“He took his own life,” the elder Valdes-Fauli said. “We are all very sad.”
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Valdes-Fauli said he spoke to his son on an almost daily basis and saw him last week with his son’s two children, ages 3 and 5. He had no indication, he said, that the younger Valdes-Fauli was considering ending his own life.
“We greatly regret the passing of Raul G. Valdes-Fauli, a beloved father, husband, son, brother and friend,” a statement issued Friday evening by his family said. “His death came far too soon, but his memory will endure forever in the hearts of all those who loved him. We respectfully request privacy at this difficult moment of grieving.”
Bankers who knew Valdes-Fauli and were familiar with his boutique bank’s operations were surprised to learn of his death. They said his bank was doing well, although there was pressure from investors to grow. The bank had a 5-star rating from Bauer Financial. A move to acquire a Palm Beach bank for $6.8 million fell through this summer.
Miami police confirmed that someone fell off the side of the 36-story hotel sometime between 10 a.m. and noon Friday, but did not provide a name.
“He was a wonderful young man, a great father,” said the elder Valdes-Fauli, whose own father, Raul Ernesto Valdes-Fauli, was a lawyer who represented banking and sugar interests in pre-Castro Cuba.
The younger Valdes-Fauli, who is survived by his wife, Martha, and two sons, was an active member of South Florida society and was occasionally quoted in Miami Herald stories on the state of the economy and banking matters. In a Herald story published in August, he discussed a two-day mid-July visit to an invitation-only banking workshop in Havana.
Valdes-Fauli said he had decided to attend the workshop in hope of better understanding the Cuban banking system, meeting some central bankers in person and seeing how Cuban banks are working with private Cuban entrepreneurs.
The local boards he served on included the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, the Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Center Trust and the Miami Finance Forum.
“He was a wonderful banker, a very responsible member of the community and boards,” his father said.
Valdes-Fauli graduated from Lake Forest College in Chicago and received a master’s in business administration from the University of Miami. He also served in the Peace Corps in Honduras in 1991, his father said.
Services will be take place at 3 p.m. Monday at Saint Agnes Church, 100 Harbor Dr., Key Biscayne.
Miami Herald reporter Nicholas Nehamas contributed to this report.