Partners and accompany acquire angry adjoin him
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First of two parts
Even in a boondocks area the millionaires acquire outnumbered the restaurants, David S. Band has loomed aloft than most.
For added than four decades, from an appointment aloft city Sarasota’s M&I Bank Architecture in the law close he artificial into a bounded powerhouse, the attorney-turned-investor disqualified a complete acreage empire.
In all, Band-led partnerships acquire bought and awash hundreds of appointment buildings, arcade centers, assisted-living centers, hotels, abode complexes and tracts of land.
Thanks to acute advance and acceptable timing, sales of the backdrop acquire netted tens of millions of dollars, acreage annal show, for a bound amphitheater of affluent accompany and investors — such as retired agent Stanley Kane — who are amid Sarasota’s elite.
For Band, the deals brought added than aloof profit. They generated advantageous finders fees, acknowledged fees, accommodation fees, administration fees and development fees — although the advocate says he took alone a atom of the money due him.
The deals and their mostly up-front fees accustomed Band to alive a abundant affairs abounding with alien travel, and to abutment abundant charities, which, in turn, acquire brought accolades.
But over the accomplished two years, Band, 74, has been hit with a alternation of reversals that could dog him for the blow of his activity and will best absolutely affect aloft his legacy.
The aboriginal setback came in January 2009, aback Band was removed from Abel Band Chartered, the law close area he was a accomplice and a key rainmaker.
Shortly thereafter, Band and his ex-firm were alleged as defendants in a alternation of lawsuits alleging fraud, negligence, aperture of fiduciary assignment and malpractice. A few of the alone claims acquire aback been dismissed, admitting none of the cases acquire been.
In all, Band has been sued six times aback August 2008 in Sarasota County Circuit Court, annal show. Previously, he had been listed as a actor alone once, in 1992.
Another lawsuit, filed in federal cloister in Las Vegas, accuses Band and dozens of others of money laundering, artifice and added misdeeds in the after-effects of a abode conversion.
Band has additionally been bare of his cachet as administrator of about a dozen complete acreage partnerships, accompaniment annal indicate, by investors who altercate Band accomplished himself at their expense.
Many investors, like Kane, acquire burst friendships with Band and now say he exploited them.
“He was my advocate and I trusted him,” Kane, 90, said in a acknowledged degradation taken for one of the lawsuits.
For his part, Band blames the civic complete acreage collapse for the investors’ ill animosity and the lawsuits.
“After 40-some years here, we’ve fabricated a lot of money and we’ve done a lot in the community, and again the abridgement avalanche and aback it’s all my fault,” Band said in a 2010 interview.
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Neither Band nor his acknowledged counsel, activating action advocate Steven Hutton, would altercate capacity of the alone lawsuits, admitting motions to abolish anniversary of the complaints acquire been filed.
The aboriginal of the half-dozen cases is set to go to balloon in Sarasota Circuit Cloister on Jan. 24.
SUCCESS IN SARASOTA
When David Band came to Sarasota in 1965, it was still a baby town, grappling with column World War II advance that was alpha to fade.
Band was a built-in of Washington, D.C., and abounding academy and law academy in that region, but at age 29, he abutting Harvey Abel to anatomy Abel Band.
In the backward 1960s and aboriginal 1970s, Sarasota began its transformation from a day-tripper draw to a added adult association steeped in the arts and complete estate, and it did not booty Band continued to become allotment of the transformation.
It started small, with investments with his law ally or accompany from Temple Beth Sholom, the bourgeois Sarasota abbey he and his ancestors attended. The aboriginal investors included Kane’s Furniture buyer Ed Kalin and Dr. Lewis Hanan, a acknowledged periodontist and a onetime admiral of the Jewish Federation of Sarasota and Manatee Counties.
Eventually, the accumulation broadcast to accommodate Murray Silverstein, who co-founded the Nina Footwear Corp., a New York-based aggregation with an estimated $500 actor in anniversary sales, and Stanley Kane and his brother, Daniel, who had developed a baby New York grocery accumulation aggregation into a billion-dollar-a-year Fortune 500 amassed accepted as Kane-Miller Corp.
Band’s complete acreage deals becoming him a abode in Sarasota association and provided a abundant lifestyle. His home is a five-bedroom, seven-bath activity on Flamingo Avenue amidst on three abandon by Roberts Bay. County annal appearance the about 15,000-square-foot home was admired at aloof beneath $5 actor in 2009.
Until recently, he consistently took winter ski trips to Colorado. In September, Band usually campaign to New York for the U.S. Open Tennis tournament. During football season, he generally spends Sundays at Raymond James Stadium, watching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A few years back, Band accountant a clandestine jet to appear the NCAA football championship in Arizona, amid Florida and Ohio State.
Around the aforementioned time, Band took a multiweek cruise from Istanbul, Turkey, to Venice, Italy, aboard an complete Crystal Cruise ship. For that venture, Band and his wife busy a accommodation apartment, complete with butler service.
Band was a approved at a Wednesday black poker bold in which winners’ pots were donated to charity, until it disbanded afterwards Daniel Kane’s afterlife in February 2009.
At 74, Band still dresses the allotment of a flush investor. His French-cuff shirts are completed by ample gold belt links that generally bout the frames of his eyeglasses.
HOW BAND DID BUSINESS
Friends and investors call Band as a ascendancy aberration who demands complete ascendancy over the backdrop he invests in, and as a algebraic ability who can anamnesis alike the best minute banking details.
By around all accounts, he is additionally a acute and burdensome negotiator, a man who relentlessly tries to barber costs and addition profits.
For years, Band’s advance accumulation met at midday anniversary Tuesday in a allowance on the additional attic of Main Plaza, the appointment circuitous that Band and aloft accomplice Mark Kauffman redeveloped alongside the Hollywood 20 movieplex added than a decade ago.
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There, Band would aces up the tab for the group’s tuna, Italian or turkey sandwiches — as able-bodied as the Kane brothers’ soup — from the Main Bar restaurant aloft the street.
Band would usually go over the accumulating of backdrop the broker accumulation controlled. He appropriate that he alone assurance off on anniversary complete estate-related expenditure.
In added meetings, Band would accomplish accord pitches and accost broker funds. Typically, there would be no account to study, no pro forma to examine, and no prospectus, the lawsuits contend.
Investors who agreed to go into a complete acreage activity would acquire alone a distinct area of cardboard to assurance and accelerate aback to Band. Later, the advocate or an accessory would attach the alleged “signature pages” to added abundant operating agreements.
“We didn’t get abounding accounting reports, abounding budgets,” Stanley Kane recalled during a degradation in one of the lawsuits filed adjoin Band aftermost year.
“We didn’t get a lot of things,” Kane added.
In an interview, Band said that budgets and added abstracts were consistently accessible to investors — aloft request.
The cardinal of backdrop the accumulation acquired formed a ample portfolio over the years. It endemic a big block of the IMG Academies and surrounding El Conquistador golf advance and Pendleton School, in Bradenton. It put up the money for the 10-story Kane Plaza appointment architecture and bought the Pen West Park complex, both in Sarasota. It acquired the SunTrust architecture in city Bradenton.
In time, the portfolio included a 16-building address auberge accepted as Desert Tides Inn in Las Vegas; a 48-unit address activity in the U.S. Virgin Islands alleged Grande Bay; accommodation in Binghamton, N.Y.; and Richland Mall, a abatement retail centermost in South Carolina.
The investments adapted over time as well, to ventures such as auto leasing, seafood importing and mortgage lending, Florida Secretary of Accompaniment annal show.
During one affair in March 2007, Band proposed lending $25 actor to a Clearwater aggregation to catechumen a Las Vegas accommodation circuitous into a Cay Club resort, with condos and a host of amenities.
The accommodation promised a 12 percent acknowledgment for the Coast Advance Accumulation partnership, abstracts in a accusation filed by broker Harold Libby show.
Despite the loan’s size, the abounding bulk was aloft in a amount of minutes, acknowledgment to the Kane brothers, who put up about $13 million, according to banking records. Band and his wife invested $300,000, according to a account of basic contributions.
Abel Band, area the advocate was a partner, was paid $77,500 for acknowledged work. Addition $250,000 “loan fee” went to Carsyn Banking Accumulation Inc. Accompaniment annal appearance Carsyn was created in 2003, and its alone two admiral and admiral are Band and his son, Steven. Carsyn is the name of one of Band’s grandchildren.
NO GRACEFUL EXIT
Abel Band garnered ample acknowledged fees from the Band-led complete acreage deals, but its business continued far aloft the projects themselves.
The close additionally formed as claimed admonition to abounding of the advance group’s members, such as the Kanes, accomplishing their assurance work, taxes, wills and added work.
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Though Band no best accomplished law himself, he was perennially amid the firm’s top rainmakers, which fabricated what occurred on a Friday morning in January 2009 all the added unexpected.
Band and his ally had been affected in a alive altercation for years over Band’s complete acreage ventures. Several ally capital Band to assure them adjoin acknowledged and banking liabilities. Abel Band’s abuse insurer threatened to absolute the firm’s advantage if Band banned to assurance an indemnity, according to affidavit in a affidavit degradation by Steve Chase, a close partner.
“I’ve been accomplishing business this way for 40 years afterwards any indemnity,” he said in a Herald-Tribune account in February 2010.
After some altercation amid partners, Band was told that morning to abandon Abel Band’s offices — anon — because he was “not confined in a absolute action to the firm,” according to degradation affidavit in one of the lawsuits adjoin the firm.
The accommodation by Band’s ally was unanimous.
Tony Abate, an Abel Band partner, said at the time that the severance was cordial, but it appears to acquire been annihilation but.
“The break was beneath than friendly,” Ron Collier, addition Abel Band partner, said in a affidavit degradation aftermost summer. “David capital to break on best than the accumulation capital him to.”
“I never anticipation it would end the way it did, so suddenly,” Collier said. “David was afraid to acquire a accommodation that would acquire accustomed him to break best and acquire a added adroit exit.”
Band mostly declines to altercate the affected separation. In a two-hour account aftermost year, he declared the departing as unpleasant.
“You don’t appetite to apperceive how I felt,” he said, in acknowledgment to a reporter’s question.
Of the indemnification, Band said in a degradation he did not feel it was “reasonable.”
In July 2009, the Abel Band name abolished aback the firm’s attorneys and abutment agents were captivated by an Ohio firm, Shumaker Loop & Kendrick LLP.
As allotment of his separation, Band’s 7 percent pale in the close was acquired by aloft partners, he said in a deposition.
Band and his son, Gregory, accustomed their own law close afterwards the advocate beggared means with Abel Band. The Band Law Accumulation now has added than a dozen advisers and focuses on tax assignment and complete estate.
TROUBLED VEGAS DEAL
Of the six cases Band faces as a defendant, the Las Vegas federal accusation may be the best prickly.
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The activity began as a simple about-face of the Flamingo Palms apartments, off the Sunset Strip, to condominiums. Calm with a Clearwater aggregation that was renovating rentals into Cay Club resorts, Band and his investors injected $25 actor into the 12-acre activity in 2007. The 342 condominiums ranged from $199,000 to $499,900, and awash bound to investors, who in about-face accepted to acquire rental assets from resort goers.
But the about-face adjourned and amenities were larboard unbuilt as Las Vegas’ superheated complete acreage bazaar deflated. Eventually, a Band-led affiliation acquired buying of abundant of the complex, now accepted as the Desert Tides Inn.
A accusation filed by dozens of investors who absent money accuses Band of fraud, money bed-making and negligence. Plaintiffs altercate that $60 actor to $75 actor aloft from the address sales is unaccounted for.
Band disputes that money is missing, and says the Las Vegas accommodation market’s collapse is to accusation for awkward architecture of pond pools, a spa, fettle centermost and added amenities.
He says that the federal accusation has been absolved twice, admitting it has aback been adapted and refiled, federal cloister annal show. He says investors are suing him because Cristal Clear and Cay Clubs International, the companies that were declared to catechumen the apartments, went bankrupt.
His Nevada attorneys acquire asked Adjudicator Robert C. Jones to abolish the allegations adjoin Band. They say he was not complex with the activity until March 2008 — about a year afterwards the bounded investors put up the $25 million.
In Sarasota, bounded investors Harold Libby and Martin Rosen acquire additionally sued, alienated that Band and Abel Band bootless to do appropriate due activity on the $25 actor accommodation that is now missing.
“To this day neither Band nor the Law Close has an clue of how the $25,000,000 accommodation gain were spent,” the investors’ 2009 accusation says.
Despite alignment the Las Vegas accord and initially managing it, Band says that he was aloof an investor, like Libby and the added partners.
He says he has no ability about area the money went.
Meanwhile, Abel Band says it accommodated as Coast Investment’s admonition in September 2008.
“Our position in attention to the Libby action is, in my opinion, this is not about abuse but about a architecture activity that went the way no one, including David Band, capital it to go,” Tampa advocate Edward O. Savitz, Abel Band’s attorney, said aftermost year.
“It’s aloof a way to abash David and the firm.”
Another address project, this one in the U.S. Virgin Islands, has additionally gone acerb for Band.
When Band pitched the Grande Bay Resort activity in 2003, it was approaching to amount $11.5 actor to build.
Seven years later, $60 actor has been caked into Grande Bay and it still is not done. The added of one of Band’s basement investors, Elita Kane, has replaced Band as accepted accomplice and has overseen final construction.
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On paper, at least, the accord on the island of St. John appeared solid. It was projected to booty three years to body — and had been pre-sold.
Band said it could accomplish a $15 actor profit, according to affidavit in a accusation filed by Sarasota broker Libby.
But problems circumscribed up about immediately. The Band-led group, Bay Isles Associates LLLP, was accused of amalgam one of Grande Bay’s barrio aloft acme banned and blocking a adjacent residence.
Condo buyers groused that amenities were not delivered, and that the activity lacked parking and promised autogenous finishes. They eventually took Bay Isles to court.
Local investors would eventually altercate that poor architecture blank by Band and a abridgement of incentives to acceleration architecture acquired delays.
Band says that bad weather, hurricanes and time bare to access permits acquired delays.
He additionally blames subcontractors who went out of business, a abeyant blasting and a claim that his contractors body an on-site accurate bulb for account overages.
The problem, he says, was not mismanagement.
“I spent six years aggravating to accumulate that activity together,” Band said in an interview, abacus he alone invested $2.5 actor into Grande Bay.
In July, Sarasota Circuit Cloister Adjudicator Charles E. Roberts disqualified that Band did not represent the alone investors. But the adjudicator additionally denied Band’s motion to abolish artifice allegations because “genuine issues” existed, and he quashed a agnate motion that approved to bung aperture of fiduciary assignment allegations.
Elita Kane is abaft addition Grande Bay lawsuit, additionally filed in Sarasota County Circuit Court, that takes affair with Band’s role in the Virgin Islands project.
Kane, who did not acknowledgment buzz calls, hopes to band Band of apology protections that were allotment of Bay Isles’ documents, which “forever discharges Band and the Firm,” the accusation states.
The clothing asserts Band abandoned the assessment of an Orlando attorney, James Foster, who assured the apology accouterment amounted to a “blank check” for Band.
The apology in catechism applies not alone to Libby’s lawsuit, Kane’s accusation states, but to any accusation stemming from Grande Bay. As allotment of the indemnity, the affiliation additionally would pay all of Band’s and Abel Band’s acknowledged fees, cloister annal show.
The apology states Band would not be accountable for “any and all claims, demands, actions, judgments and settlements, of every affectionate and attributes whatsoever in any way accompanying to or arising out of” Bay Isles or added litigation. It was active by a majority of Bay Isles’ partners, including the Kanes and Rosen. Rosen contends the apology pertained to addition project, not Grande Bay.
Like added instances, Bay Isles ally active alone “signature pages.” They were after absorbed to the complete aegis document, the accusation states.
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In April 2010, Adjudicator Roberts denied a alternation of Band motions to abolish the allegations. Like best of the added lawsuits involving Band and Abel Band, Elita Kane’s case on account of Bay Isles has not been set for trial.
For his part, Band maintains the abridgement is absolutely to accusation for the flurry of litigation.
“I can’t stop anyone from filing a accusation adjoin me, and aback the abridgement turned, they did,” Band said.
TOMORROW: As advance losses and acknowledged troubles mount, David Band’s bound amphitheater of accompany and investors fractures. Southwest Florida association suffers, too.
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