Miami-Dade County

Nader, Miami Dade College in standoff over downtown cultural center

Gary Nader
Gary Nader

In the latest twist to the saga that is Miami Dade College’s solicitation to build a downtown cultural center, art dealer Gary Nader is refusing to sign an affidavit swearing that he didn’t hire a private investigator to tail a college consultant.

The affidavits were due Wednesday, and submitted by bidding teams Related Group and Gregg Covin Development/Oppenheim Architecture, according to the college. But Nader, who started the whole developer competition a year ago by submitting an unsolicited bid for a museum, theater, conference center and condos on Biscayne Boulevard, did not respond.

In a letter to the college, Bill Riley, an attorney for Nader + Museu LLP, said the team would not sign the affidavit nor an amended agreement not to sue until it receives and reviews a series of records related to private meetings between an attorney assisting the college’s developer competition and an executive with competitor Related Group.

The college apparently learned months ago that Bilzin Sumberg attorney Suzanne Amaducci-Adams and Related executive Lissette Calderon have occasional contact because their daughters are friends and attend the same elementary school. But college leaders didn’t disclose the relationship to the three teams bidding on the project, and two private investigators representing an unknown client twice tailed Amaducci-Adams to Calderon’s house in April.

The college was alerted to the issue after one of the investigators contacted a member of its board of trustees. Miami Dade College published an investigative report and memo last week clearing the women of wrongdoing. In the meantime, they also asked the three bidders in negotiations with the college to sign new legal waivers promising not to protest the college’s final decision and affidavits swearing that they didn’t hire the investigators.

But Nader’s team disputed the independence of the college’s report and argued that both Bilzin Sumberg and Related should be pushed out of the project. Nader + Museu also requested a series of public records related to the college’s investigation of the issue.

On Wednesday, Riley told the college that Nader is traveling and can’t sign anything. But even if he could, Riley said the team wants to review all pertinent records before it signs the affidavit or waives any rights, and wants the college to respond to its arguments that Related and Amaducci-Adams should be removed from the solicitation.

In a June 14 letter, Roman Martinez, the college’s procurement director, told Riley that the college is looking into Nader + Museu’s complaint, but will continue on with its solicitation. He declined to comment Friday morning on whether there would be any consequences for missing a deadline to file the affidavit.