Investigators believe the fugitive South Florida supermarket mogul suspected of murdering his wife's secret lover is being bankrolled by his son — who is part owner of the popular Pincho Factory restaurant chain.
Prosecutors made the revelation Monday during a court hearing for one of the co-defendants charged alongside Manuel Marin, who ran several Presidente Supermarket locations until he fled the country for Spain in June 2011. His son, Yaddiel Marin, 32, still owns the markets and has a stake in the growing South Florida kebab-and-hamburger restaurants, a homicide detective told a judge.
"He is also involved in the Pincho Factories," Miami-Dade Detective Christopher Villano testified on Monday.
It was yet another twist in the only-in-Miami story of Manuel Marin, who was charged in April in the murder of his wife's secret lover, Camilo Salazar, whose body was discovered in a rural area near the Everglades in June 2011. He had been severely beaten, his throat slit, his genitals torched.
Authorities believe Marin, a fight junkie who used to coach wrestling in Cuba, enlisted the help of three local men he knew through the mixed-martial arts and boxing scene. At Monday's hearing, a Miami-Dade judge agreed to keep one of his co-defendants, Robert Isaac, behind bars after prosecutors said they feared Marin — flush with his son's money — could buy his silence and help him flee to Cuba.
"He gets all his money from Yaddiel Marin, his son," prosecutor Gail Levine told the judge.
Levine told a judge that Yaddiel Marin has been paying $10,000 a month to support his father's youngest children. In March, he even arranged to have the children, and their mother, visit Manuel Marin at a resort in Cuba, where they have family, she said.
Yaddiel Marin, who lives in a multimillion dollar mansion on Pine Tree Drive in Miami Beach, could not be reached for comment. Calls to his phone went unanswered. It was unknown if he has retained a defense lawyer.
Pincho Factory on Monday night characterized Yaddiel Marin as strictly a minority investor with no say-so over the company. Co-founder Otto Othman said Marin remains a minority investor but has never received a payout from the company and could not have used the earnings to fund his fugitive father.
"We've never paid out distribution so he has actually never made any money from us," Othman said. "Nobody that's invested with us at the corporate level has seen a distribution."
On his Instagram page, Yaddiel Marin describes himself as an entrepreneur with stakes in Pincho Factory, The Spot barbershop and the PokéBao restaurant in Coral Gables. His posts show him touting all of the businesses.
Authorities believe Manuel Marin initially escaped to Spain, but may also have spent time in Cuba, which does not extradite fugitives to the United States.
All of those believed involved in Salazar's murder are Cuban natives.
Charged with conspiracy is Alexis Vila Perdomo, a former wrestling world champion for Cuba who won a gold medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Vila defected to Miami, worked for Marin at the supermarket and later became an MMA fighter and trainer after serving a stint in prison for bizarrely crashing his car into a terminal at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. He remains jailed and has pleaded not guilty.
Another defendant is Ariel Gandulla, a Cuban national and former MMA fighter who was last believed to be hiding in Canada. He remains a fugitive.
Manuel Marin, 64, fled the country less than a week after the murder and has been on the lam ever since. His former wife, Jenny Marin, has two children with him and occasionally got phone calls from him over the years.
He helped establish Miami's Presidente Supermarkets in the early 1990s. The company has been touted as one of the country's fastest growing Hispanic supermarket chains, with over 30 locations. At the time of the 2011 murder, Marin was "active in the day-to-day operations of his supermarkets and [had] a significant financial interest in the businesses," according to an arrest warrant.
As for Pincho Factory, it is a Miami success story.
The chain, which takes its name from the kebobs, or pinchos, on its menu, is known for its grilled street food and hamburgers served in a sleek, sit-down, fast-casual setting. Their pinchos and burgers — including a signature Toston Burger where smashed, deep fried plantain disks stand in for buns — became Miami favorites.
It started when three Miami-raised cousins, Nedal and Nizar Ahmad and Otto Othman, opened one location in 2010 with $77,000 in savings and family recipes. It quickly has blossomed into a fast-growing Miami-based chain with 10 locations, more than 150 employees and millions of dollars in revenue.
The three cousins were listed as co-owners with Yaddiel Marin at the Coral Gables location, Pincho Factory #2, Inc., in annual reports filed with the state of Florida and introduced into evidence in court. Marin remains a silent partner in the overall company, Othman said, and stands to make a profit when he sell his stake or when Pincho Factory pays out to its investors.
“Yaddiel Marin was an early investor but has no day-to-day involvement in our business," Pincho Factory's CEO, Nedal Ahmad, wrote to the Miami Herald in a statement.
The company has made it big. Former NFL and University of Miami football player Jonathan Vilma signed on to open a Pincho Factory franchise. One of the Pincho Factory owners was featured making a Toston Burger for Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb on the "Today" show in 2014.
By April, the company announced it had secured funding to open 10 more franchises in the Washington area, the first of which is to open by the end of 2018.