Former Miami Beach mayor-turned-convicted felon Alex Daoud thought he had already “lived through hell” — 18 months in federal prison.
But at 71, Daoud, who once met the Queen of England and sparred with Muhammad Ali, is overweight and in poor health with banged-up knees. He says he has few friends and lives off Social Security.
And now, he could lose the house he’s living in to his daughter.
Sitting at the head of his cluttered dining room table, the former mayor, who went on to write about the city’s political shenanigans in the Sins of South Beach, fought back tears as he leafed through letters from his daughter, Kelly Hyman, and recalled his missteps that brought him to court against his own blood.
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“I trusted her,” said Daoud, who joined the Miami Beach commission in 1979 and was mayor from 1985 to 1991. “I loved her. I still love her.”
Daoud, who served time for tax evasion, accepting bribes while in office and obstructing an investigation, admits “I made a lot of mistakes in my life.”
“Of all the things I have been been through, and I have been in quicksand up to my neck quite often, this is about as close to death as I came,” he said of getting sued by his daughter.
Hyman has a simple explanation: She owns the place and feels her dad is trying to take away her corporation.
In 2012, Hyman filed a complaint in Miami-Dade Circuit Court against her father, saying she owns the corporation that bought the $1 million two-bedroom, three-bath house in the 1700 block of Michigan Avenue. Her basis: Her name is on the original incorporation documents of the company that bought the house in 2006.
“The house my father lives in is owned by the corporation Bouganvilla Investments. I formed the corporation and have been the owner of it from the inception,” Hyman said in a statement to the Miami Herald. “I acted on behalf of the company to acquire the house. I attempted to resolve matters with my father which was not successful and I unfortunately had no choice but to file suit.”
Daoud’s attorney, Alex Brito, said that Daoud is the only one who has ever paid the mortgage, the insurance payments and all other property expenses.
The former mayor, who lives in the house with his German shepherd, said he would be on the street if a judge agreed with his daughter.
“I’ll be homeless,” he said. “I have nothing left.”
“He has the financial means to find a suitable and comparable place to live or he can live in the Gardens Apartments, which is where he lived before I acquired the house,” said Hyman, who is married to Chief Bankruptcy Judge Paul G. Hyman of the Southern District of Florida.
RISE AND FALL
Daoud’s colorful history began on the very street on which he now lives: Michigan Avenue. Born and raised in Miami Beach, he feels the city in his blood.
After leaving town for undergraduate and law school, he returned to the Beach to practice law. In 1979, he won a seat on the city commission, hoping to lead the city through the Miami Vice era.
Before long he would be presented with deals and “one thing led to another,” he said.
In 1991, he was charged with 41 counts including bribery. He spent more than $1 million on his defense, lost his law license, got removed from office and got divorced. He made a deal with the government and wore a wire to help bring down others and reduce his five-year sentence.
He was labeled a snitch and he was sure he would die in prison.
When he got out of prison in 1995, he had to serve three years of probation. All of his assets — including the apartment building on Michigan Avenue where he grew up — were put in a trust to his son, Alexander. He began picking up odd jobs to make some cash.
He moved into a one-bedroom apartment in the building and served as the property manager. He landscaped, helped settle tenant disputes, even cleaned the dryers when they needed to be.
In 2006, he self-published his book, which detailed the darker side of Miami Beach — the corruption, scandals and vigilante justice. He said he gets very little money from the book.
In 2005 , Daoud decided it was time to buy the house across the street from his building. With no credit, little money and his book about to come out, the bank advised him to have his daughter sign the mortgage as the guarantor.
He says he created Bouganvilla and his daughter was listed as the incorporator and president of the company. Hyman, who was not married at the time, then signed the paperwork — as president of the company — for the historically protected 1940 house.
Bouganvilla sued in 2005 when the house’s owner, Jordan Schwartz, changed his mind about selling. In 2006, the company settled with Schwartz for $637,500.
But Hyman said as president of the corporation, she was the one who bought the house — not her father.
“I settled the suit so that the company could acquire the house,” Hyman said. “I obtained the financing.”
The house — which needs some tender loving care for a leaky roof and old floors — has apartments in the back that at one time generated income. But the city has since said renting them is illegal. One tenant remains, living rent-free, Daoud said.
Hyman’s attorney, Bernardo Burstein, declined to comment on the pending litigation.
Brito, Daoud’s attorney, said his client is the only one who ever contributed any money to the house. He said Daoud put his daughter as the president of the corporation because “his credit was shot and he wanted to lay low.”
Brito said Daoud later removed his daughter’s name from the corporation.
He said a judge will now decide who actually owns the home.
And while the case has gotten ugly — with people recently taking sides on Facebook — Daoud is hoping that somehow he and his daughter will settle.
“I am 71 and in poor health,” he said. “I am not going to make it much longer. Couldn’t she just wait until I die?”