Who is Yoram Izhak, and why should we care?

Photo: South Florida Business Journal

Source: South Florida Business Journal

For the third time in as many days, I’ve heard the name Yoram Izhak.  Unfortunately, the stories in the news have not painted him in a good light.

So who is Yoram Izhak?

For starters, he is a North Miami developer/investor/businessman, who is a principle in all of the following Florida corporations and limited liability companies:

W.D.S. DEVELOPERS CORP., INC
T.Y.R.A. PROPERTIES, LLC
441 HOLDINGS, LLC
SANS SOUCI RENTAL APARTMENTS, LLC
MARGATE PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT, LLC
LIMOCH 19800 WEST DIXIE, LLC
WEST PALM BEACH DEVELOPMENT, LLC
373 OKEECHOBEE CITY, LLC
CAPE CORAL ACRES, LLC
GUN CLUB PROPERTIES, LLC
CARRELL CORNERS WEST, LLC
TROPICANA SANS SOUCI, LLC
CARRELL CORNERS EAST, LLC
COLONIAL OMNI REALTY, LLC
ARCADIA PROPERTY, LLC
ARCADIA SUBSIDIARY, LLC
PALM BAY ONE PROPERTIES, LLC
BISCAYNE 2500, LLC
COLONIAL FORT MEYERS LLC
OKEECHOBEE HIALEAH PROPERTY, LLC
STACK VILLAGE PLAZA MELBOURNE, LLC
COUNTRY CLUB PALM BAY, LLC
3800 FORT MYERS LLC
COMMERCE CENTER MELBOURNE, LLC
SCHOOL HOUSE PORT CHARLOTTE, LLC
BYE FINANCE, LLC
FORT MYERS WAREHOUSE CITY, LLC
HARBOR CITY MELBOURNE, LLC
COCO GROVE LLC
BAYVIEW CONDO INVESTMENT, LLC
CLEARWATER INDUSTRIAL, LLC
PORT ORANGE INDUSTRIAL, LLC
CYPRESS COVE CONDO INVESTMENT LLC
NP SHOPPING CENTER PROPERTY, LLC
KISSIMEE OSCEOLA, LLC
ALLEGHANY PROPERTIES, LLC
ST. CLOUD INVESTMENT PROPERTY, LLC
SOUTH DADE WAREHOUSE CITY, LLC
WP BEACH 1309, LLC
MIAMI GARDENS INVESTMENT PROPERTY, LLC
MAGNOLIA SQUARE OF ST. CLOUD, LLC
KISSIMMEE 192, LLC
MEDLEY INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT, LLC
NORTHSIDE CENTRE, LLC
NORTHSIDE INVESTMENT PROPERTIES, LLC
CHANEL ERA, LLC
SAN SOUCI INVESTORS, LLC
441 INDUSTRIAL, LLC
MYA PROPERTIES, LLC
SHORE SQUARE PROPERTIES, LLC
SHORE SQUARE MEMBER, LLC
WAVERLY POMPANO CENTER, LLC
PALMETTO LAKES INVESTORS, LLC
AIRPORT COMMERCE, LLC
LAUDERHILL MEMBERS, LLC
COLONIAL MEMBERS, LLC
COLONIAL 8010, LLC
LAKES MALL INVESTMENT, LLC
LAKES MALL MEMBERS, LLC
PALMETTO INVESTORS TWO, LLC
LINCOLN SUNRISE, LLC
LINCOLN SUNRISE MEMBERS, LLC
ISLAMORADA 2790, LLC
KISSIMMEE 3205 SHOPPES, LLC
KISSIMMEE 3205 MEMBERS, LLC
PEMBROKE FIVE Y, LLC
TAMIAMI MEMBERS, LLC
HIALEAH GARDENS INDUSTRIAL MEMBERS, LLC
SABINA MEMBERS, LLC
WOODLAKES INVESTMENT, LLC
BISCAYNE AND 79 PLAZA, LLC
BISCAYNE AND 79 FINANCIAL, LLC
BISCAYNE MEMBERS, LLC
KEY LARGO TREE, LLC
KEY LARGO MEMBERS, LLC
WELLINGTON RESERVE, LLC
WELLINGTON MEMBERS, LLC
LAKEWORTH TOWN PLAZA, LLC
LAKEWORTH TOWN MEMBERS, LLC
SNY REALTY, LLC
KELSEY MEMBERS, LLC
KELSEY INDUSTRIAL, LLC
WP 53 PARK, LLC
GOOD HOMES ORLANDO, LLC
GOOD HOMES MEMBERS, LLC
HIALEAH OFFICE CENTER, LLC
HIALEAH OFFICE MEMBERS, LLC
DEERFIELD PROPERTY INVESTMENT, LLC
9 EAST HIALEAH, LLC
190 STREET WAREHOUSES, LLC
HIALEAH INDUSTRIAL PORTFOLIO, LLC
HABANA KEY WEST, LLC
20 STREET, LLC
HABANA MEMBERS, LLC
HIALEAH PORTFOLIO MEMBERS, LLC
ILC HIALEAH INVESTMENT, LLC
ILC MEMBERS, LLC
CITY FOUNTAINS, LLC
REDLAND 14, LLC
DT PALMETTO, LLC
GUN CLUB SHOPPING CENTER, LLC
GUN CLUB SUBSIDIARY, LLC
SIMCHA LAYELADIM, INC.
SHOP IN THE GROVE CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION, INC.
YORIZO, INC.
BEACH HOLDING, INC.
V & Y PROPERTIES, INC.
MIKE’S HITCHING POST RESTAURANT, INC.
MEDLEY PROPERTIES, INC.
LAUDERDALE OFFICE CENTER, INC.
I.M.C. PROPERTY MANAGEMENT AND MAINTENANCE, INC.
Y J A INC.
OMNI REALTY, INC.
FIVE Y INVESTMENTS, INC.
MALLER-IZHAK INVESTMENTS, INC.
MEDLEY COMMERCE CENTER, INC.
MEDLEY TRUCK, INC.
MEDLEY MOTEL, INC.
MEDLEY STATION, INC.
M.I.A. PROPERTIES, INC.
BRICKELL PARK, INC.

And those are just the active corporations.

There are quite a few inactive companies, formed in the 1980s and 1990s, but which have been dissolved in the last decade.  Judging by the names of those now defunct companies (Yoram Izhak Clothing, Inc., for one), it appears that Yoram Izhak was at one time in the schmatta (Yiddish for clothing) business.

Sources tell me Izhak was under investigation for “shady business dealings” back then.

Now, he’s back in business as a real estate developer and investor, conducting business out of a North Miami office building owned by his company M.I.A. Properties, Inc.

Yoram Izhak is also back in the news after laying low for a couple of years.  As reported on September 18, 2014 by Local 10’s Bob Norman in Sheriff-tied political committee accepts money from convicted felon, Yoram Izhak is a major donor for Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel’s re-election campaign.  He reported, “One of those leading the money list is developer Yoram Izhak, who is listed on campaign filings for “Citizens for Effective Law Enforcement” as giving $5,000 personally, with another $15,000 coming from companies listed at the building he owns in North Miami.”

Ironically, Izhak previously had a run-in with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office when he attempted to board a Delta Airlines flight to JFK International Airport with a loaded gun strapped to his ankle.  A Criminal Complaint filed with the United States District Court on October 10, 2002 claims “the defendant did attempt to get on an aircraft … having on or about him or his property a concealed dangerous weapon that would be accessible to the individual in flight.”

Two years later on December 6, 2004, Yoram Izhak pleaded guilty to tax evasion.  Of that incident, Local 10’s Bob Norman reported, “…Izhak is also a convicted felon who was indicted 10 years ago in a massive organized crime case.  The crime ring was known as “The Corporation” or the “Cuban Mafia” and was allegedly involved in cocaine trafficking, arson, gambling and murder. The indictment alleges Izhak was involved in money laundering for the group. Racketeering and illegal gambling charges filed against him were dropped. He agreed to cooperate with the federal government and pleaded guilty to tax evasion for a sentence of probation.”

Irony struck again when he was sentenced to 36 months’ worth of probation and court ordered to refrain from possessing “a firearm, destructive devise, or any other dangerous weapon,” according to the Judgment in a Criminal Case, filed in the United States District Court.

It also states that defendant Yoram Izhak “shall not commit another federal, state or local crime.”

Fast forward to 2012.

One of the many properties acquired by Izhak was the Northside Shopping Center located at NW 79th Street and 27th Avenue.  Fifty percent of the shopping center is owned by Izhak’s company, M.I.A. Properties, Inc., which is also the landlord of an office rented to Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jean Monestime.  A Miami New Times article dated February 6, 2012 reported that a month earlier the Commission voted to approve a $3 million dollar renovation grant to the Northside Shopping Center despite Izhak’s criminal track record.  When the New Times questioned Izhak’s attorney, Glenn Widom, he quickly came to his client’s defense, stating, “I can see no reasonable relationship between his criminal charges and Northside Centre other than subjecting Mr. Izhak and his family to embarrassment.  This is simply not newsworthy.”

Not newsworthy?

Apparently, the Commission deemed it newsworthy enough because, as reported by the Miami New Times on February 7, 2012, Monestime had “to pull his name off and withhold his vote at the last minute” after the Ethics Commission “ruled he had a conflict.”

Ya think?

Fast forward to 2014.

In addition to his political ties with the Broward County Sheriff, Yoram Izhak’s name came up again most recently in a Miami Herald article, MOCA director proposes new board.  Babacar M’Bow, the museum’s executive director, proposed the appointment of fourteen individuals “to function as interim board members.”  The Herald reported, “One of the proposed board members, real estate developer and investor Yoram Izhak, said through an attorney Friday that he will reject the nomination after the Miami Herald asked about a past tax evasion charge and airport security arrest.”

North Miami’s Museum of Contemporary Art, which opened its fall season tonight, has already had enough troubles of late.  Mr. M’Bow told the Herald that “any red flags in nominees’ backgrounds were not a cause for concern,” that he had the City Attorney’s consent, and that he was only interested in the “artistic viewpoint” of his nominees.  Fortunately for MOCA, Izhak had the good sense to disassociate himself with the museum’s struggle to reinvent itself and maintain its reputation in the art world.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel would have also done well to avoid the controversial Yoram Izhak.

Then again, this isn’t Israel’s first encounter with convicted felons and other questionable characters.

Last year, Random Pixels reported:

A little more than a week after taking office – and even before he’d learned the location of all the elevators at BSO headquarters – Israel raised more than a few eyebrows when he invited Ken Jenne, the disgraced former Broward sheriff and convicted felon, to visit him in “the $1.6 million office space Jenne used public funds to redecorate.”

(As an aside, RP also noted that Bob Norman, the Local 10 reporter who divulged the Izhak-Scott campaign connection, was the same journalist who reported that Israel took “a five-day luxury cruise to the Bahamas on a $35 million super-yacht … paid for by the sheriff’s largest campaign donor, construction magnate Robert Pereira.”)

Neither Sheriff Israel nor Yoram Izhak would agree to an interview by Norman, who reported:

Late Wednesday, [Izhak’s attorney] Widom denied in a letter that Izhak had given the money at all to the sheriff, despite the fact that it was reported in filings to the federal government by Citizens for Effective Law Enforcement, including one contribution in Izhak’s name and two in companies listed at a building he owns.

“This is simply a mistake,” wrote Widom.

Izhak’s lawyer appears to have lied.

I know.  Shocking, right?

After nearly a decade of keeping a low profile, North Miami developer/investor Yoram Izhak has recently found himself back in the spotlight.  Perhaps he would have done well to stay under the radar.

Miami-Dade Commissioner Jean Monestime nearly committed political suicide two years ago with his grant sponsorship.  Fortunately, his career was saved by the Ethics Commission.

I know, I can’t believe I just wrote that, either.

The Miami-Dade County Commissioners should also be commended for refusing to do business with a convicted felon.

It’s quite possible, however, that Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel won’t take a cue from the Miami-Dade County Commission.  As Bob Norman reported, “there is no indication the sheriff is going to return the money.”

Despite all this negative publicity, I would not be surprised if the low-information voters of Broward County let Scott Israel keep his job as Top Dog of the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

And, despite my initial concerns to the contrary, this could be a blogger’s paradise after all.

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

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3 Comments

  1. You’re saying he ratted on the Cuban mafia and is still alive?

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    1. Stephanie Kienzle says:

      Apparently.

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  2. m.s.Woods says:

    Sounds like on heck of a shady business man. In fact, calling him a “businessman” might be an insult to the word “business”.

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