It took only $10,000 in campaign donations for Miami Beach developer Russell Galbut to persuade the Miami-Dade County Board of Rules and Appeals to rule in his favor.
How much did it cost him to
buy convince a Miami-Dade County judge to do the exact same thing?
An August 4, 2016 article in the Florida Bulldog, Owners at South Beach’s Shelborne fight $30 million assessments, foreclosure, reported on a Miami-Dade civil court case alleging that Russell Galbut, along with relatives and business associates, broke Florida condominium association laws after stacking the board to push out all the “non-Galbut” unit owners of the condominium hotel through forced sales and foreclosures.
Five years ago on April 18, 2012, forty two unit owners fought back by filing a lawsuit against the Shelborne Ocean Beach Condominium Association, Inc. and fifteen other defendants including the association’s president Martin Wasserman, Shelborne Property Associates, LLC, of which Russell Galbut is a Manager, and “four shell companies Galbut controls,” as well as his cousins Keith Menin and Joan Brent. (Huber, et al, vs. Shelborne Ocean Beach Hotel Condominium Association, Inc., et al; Case No. 2012-015281-CA-01.)
At the time the lawsuit was filed in 2012, Galbut-owned companies owned 100 rooms and 57 commercial spaces, or “less than one sixth of the units,” according to defense attorney Ronald M. Rosengarten of Greenberg Traurig. Since then, the Galbut group obtained 120 more units, which enabled them to achieve a majority on the board.