Coral Gables mansion sells for $45M to firm associated with billionaire amid legal battle

Coral Gables mansion sells for $45M to firm associated with billionaire amid legal battle

A new mansion in the Gables Estates neighborhood of Coral Gables sold for $45.25 million, although a lawsuit against the seller remains pending.

Documents from that lawsuit link the buyer of the waterfront home to billionaire Kenneth Griffin , the head of Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel.

Coastal Drive II, managed by Maria Fernanda Vaamonde in Coral Gables, sold the 19,042-square-foot home at 650 Casuarina Concourse to 650 Casuarina LLC, a Delaware-registered company. Saddy Abaunza of One Sotheby’s International Realty represented the seller in the deal, which equated to $2,276 a square foot.

Situated on a 2-acre lot, the home features eight bedrooms, 14.5 bathrooms, marble and wood floors, a gym, a 5,000-bottle wine cellar, a theater, a sauna, a summer kitchen, a massage room and a pool.

The buyer could pay additional compensation of $7.75 million to the seller if the lawsuit with a third party is resolved, according to an exhibit filed with a lawsuit.

In February, 650 Casuarina MFC Holdings LLC filed a lawsuit in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court against Coastal Drive II and Vaamonde, alleging that the plaintiff placed the home under contract for $45 million in September 2021, but unpermitted work and illegal improvements on the property impacted the value and habitability of the home. The complaint says the party that had the site under contract is managed by Mayra C. Ruiz .

She’s the ex-wife of high-profile attorney John H. Ruiz , the founder of MSP Recovery Law Firm and MSP Recovery in Coral Gables. The plaintiff is represented by attorneys from MSP Recovery and Gonzalo Dorta of Dorta Law. Dorta couldn’t be reached for comment.

A lis pendens that was previously blocking the sale of the home was discharged May 19, under agreement from both parties. However, the lawsuit remains pending. According to the complaint, Ruiz’s company still has its $1 million deposit in escrow.

According to the amended complaint filed May 2, the unpermitted modifications to the basement of the home made about 3,500 square feet of it not habitable and this was not disclosed when Ruiz signed the contract. Since the basement improvements were not approved by the city, they can’t be legally used, and that impacts the value of the home, according to the complaint. The unpermitted work was discovered during a pre-closing walk-through Jan. 19.

The claims in the lawsuit are breach of contract, material misrepresentation, fraudulent misrepresentation and specific performance to purchase the property.

Fort Lauderdale-based attorney Patrick K. Dahl , who represents Coastal Drive II in the lawsuit, couldn’t be reached for comment. His client filed a motion to dismiss the case, stating that the sales contract on the home calls for a “dispute resolution process” to be followed before a lawsuit is filed.

A May 17 motion by Coastal Drive II sought to discharge the lis pendens in order to sell the property. The court filing included exhibits that shed light on who later bought the property.

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