Jose Lambiet

Bill Gates buying up South Florida land

Gates AP

When it comes to South Florida real estate, Bill Gates seems to be impersonating Pacman.

This spring, the world’s richest man has been gobbling up land around his Wellington ranch, and he won’t stop until he owns the entire street.

Through the Miami branch of K&L Gates, the law firm started by Gates’ dad, the billionaire 77 times over just bought two empty lots in South Florida’s horse country from a company owned by Miami investor Daniel Morales for a total $4.97 million.

Gates now owns four of the six properties on Mallet Hill Court, a private street of ranches and equestrian training grounds that wasn’t private enough for the founder of Microsoft when he first moved there three years ago.

In total this spring, Gates spent $18.5 million cash to add three properties to the ranch he bought in 2013 for $8.7 million, according to Palm Beach County records.

He now owns 15 acres and he has 6.3 acres to buy to complete his land puzzle.

Why was Gates so interested in South Florida?

His and wife Melinda’s daughter, Jennifer, has been training and competing in show jumping in Wellington’s Winter Equestrian Festival.

“It’s well known Bill didn’t like the constant traffic of trucks loading up and dropping off horses on all the properties and the occasional party,” said Stuart Roffman, a neighbor whose five-acre lot with a 7,000-square-foot house and a brand-new horse barn adjacent was sold to Gates for $13.5 million in March.

Gates paid a premium for his latest purchases of two vacant lots: Morales bought them for a total $3 million two years ago!

Signs that Gates was taking over appeared soon after the philanthropist bought his first property. He immediately hired off-duty law enforcement officers to patrol the street on foot 24/7.

Gates’ attorneys did not respond to requests for comment.


Chances are Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill will not be able to buy a whole street unless he takes the Fins deep into the playoffs every year for the rest of his career.

Yet he, too, is trying to pad his financial nest with real estate.

The QB and pregnant wife Lauren listed their starter home on the Intracoastal in Fort Lauderdale for sale a month ago, and they’ve got a contract pending that’s close to the asking price.

Broward County records show the Tannehills are asking for $1.3 million for a three-story townhouse and a boat slip at the fancy Portside Yacht Club.

Records show they bought the place soon after he was drafted for $785,000.

The area’s first football couple just moved into a new crib in the city’s Colee Hammock area they bought for $4.3 million.


Retired Miami Dolphins wide receiver Chad Johnson made a football career out of annoying defensive backs into submission.

In retirement, he might be doing the same thing with an homeowner association in Broward County.

For two years now, the Long Lake Ranches West HOA in Davie has been trying to get Johnson to pay his $400-a-month association dues.

The HOA won the right to foreclose on the property that Johnson bought for $1.3 million. It was due to be sold on the proverbial courthouse steps April 15.

But Johnson wrote a check for two years worth of payment April 13, staving off the sale.


Railing manufacturer Louis Ferrusi will be cheering for the Miami Heat twice as hard now that he’s been made whole.

In April Ferrusi, the general manager of Performance Glass in Pompano, signed a lien request against Dwyane Wade’s team because he wasn’t getting a $74,000 check after his company redid the arena’s upper-floor outdoor balcony railing.

“This sort of thing happens,” Ferrusi said about the four-month delay in getting the balance of a $111,000 contract for the manufacture and installation of steel railings near the shuttered Bongos restaurant.

Ferrusi filed the lien to drive home the point he was still waiting.

“The Heat’s great; I got paid; everything’s fine,” he said.