Judge ends receivership that cost a
Miami Gardens condo millions
21 May 2017
Rodriguez shows his anger during a hearing Friday. Roberto
A Miami-Dade civil court judge put an end to the receivership of a
former judge who billed millions to a condominium in Miami Gardens for
two years of work.
During a hearing Friday, Judge Jorge Cueto ended the appointment of
Jorge J. Pérez in the case of the Mirassou Condominium.
Pérez had requested on Wednesday to be discharged as a receiver, saying
he had completed his job.
Now pending is a dispute over the $2.6 million bill for professional
fees for the receiver and his team. Pérez was appointed in March 2015
to help the 310-unit condo during a financial crisis.
After Friday’s hearing, a group of condo owners chased Pérez to the
elevator shouting ladrón (thief), bandolero (bandit) and todo se paga
en esta vida (what goes around comes around).
On Thursday, Civil Court Judge Eric Hendon, who appointed Pérez as the
receiver at Mirassou Condominium, recused himself from the case to
“avoid the appearance of impropriety.”
Hendon’s recusal came a few hours after he received an email from
Pérez. In the message, Pérez asked Hendon “as a friend” to “impose full
control of the courtroom Friday” by allowing “no circus, no cameras, no
mob,” He said that the attorney for the condo owners, “the mob” and
Channel 23 “have to be taught a lesson that they cannot lie.”
On Wednesday, el Nuevo Herald and Univision 23 published investigative
reports on the Mirassou Condominium.
Pérez, as a receiver, was expected to collect payments in arrears,
correct dangerous code violations, carry out repairs and settle more
than $5 million in fines imposed by the county.
The receiver carried out several improvements, including fixing the
elevators, which are now operating with expired permits. The condo
association still owes $5 million in fines, according to Miami-Dade
County records. The county has imposed a lien on the property.
the receiver and his team are “proud” of their
work in Mirassou
In a letter to reporters, Perez’s attorney said the receiver and his
team are “proud” of their work in Mirassou.
Perez charged an average $45,000 a month for the equivalent of four
hours of work a day, at a rate of $525 an hour.
Attorney Guillermo Mancebo, who represents the condo board, said they
plan to contest in court the professional fees charged by Pérez and his
“Justice should not be so expensive,”
“Justice should not be so expensive,” Mancebo said.
At the hearing Friday, Pérez and his attorney, Paul Breitner, told
Cueto that Hendon had already approved the bills because no one
objected to the fees. But several Mirassou owners said that they didn't
know they had the right to object to the fees, or that they had to do
it by presenting a motion to the court. They also said that they did
not know information about Pérez’s fees is available on the court’s Web
“We want this new judge to understand us and order fair fees,” said
owner Mónica Posada. “Don’t make us pay all that money.”
Cueto said he would like to review the bills that Pérez regularly filed
with the court and were approved by Hendon.
“I’m not going to approve payments today,” said Cueto, who asked Pérez
if the costs could be negotiated.
Pérez had asked Hendon in March to authorize him to obtain a $2 million
loan from TotalBank to pay professional fees. The loan would be paid
off by Mirassou owners in seven years, through a special assessment fee
added to their monthly maintenance fees.
“What worries me the most now is that he leaves and we don’t know how
much debt he leaves us, or how much money we have in the bank,” said
Mirassou owner Monica Posada.