Make us your home page

Ex-con sued by Trump Tower Tampa developers

Claiming they were duped out of $150,000, developers of Trump Tower Tampa have sued an ex-convict from Indiana who failed to deliver a $200-million loan.

SimDag LLC is pursuing civil theft charges against a self-proclaimed clergyman who goes by the name of the Very Rev. Father Barney Canada. Canada spent three years in federal prison for ripping off businesses in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He ran an "advance fee scheme" in which he collected millions of dollars in fees but failed to deliver loans.

SimDag attorney Jeffrey Warren said Canada, by withholding information about his criminal past during negotiations earlier this year, lured his clients into a contract he didn't intend to uphold.

SimDag struggled for two years to get financing for its 52-story luxury condo high-rise. Developers licensed the name from New York real estate mogul Donald Trump. Canada, head of a company called Providence Funding, appeared last spring as the project's financial savior.

"The fee was paid, and the loan was supposed to close simultaneously," Warren said. "The fees got paid and then nothing. My clients didn't know they were bamboozled until it was too late."

Canada's Indiana attorney, Thomas "Chip" Lewis, didn't return a call from the St. Petersburg Times.

Since the summer, when the Times broke the story of Canada's activities, several businesses have contacted the newspaper to say that they, too, paid Canada for loans that never materialized.

With the implosion of the real estate market, SimDag filed for bankruptcy in June. The lawsuit against Canada falls within the confines of the bankruptcy court.

Ex-con sued by Trump Tower Tampa developers 11/07/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 10, 2008 3:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa Bay's Top 100 Workplaces deadline extended to Nov. 17


    Think you work at one of the best places in Tampa Bay? You've got a little more time to make a pitch.

    Penny Hoarder and Gregory, Sharer & Stuart were among those at an event in Tampa last May honoring winners of the Tampa Bay Times Top Workplaces awards. Nominations are now open for this year.  
[OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  2. Tampa-based Checkers testing delivery, aims for record expansion


    TAMPA — Tampa-based Checkers Drive-In Restaurants continues to fly under the radar compared to dominant burger chains like McDonald's and Burger King.

    Checkers Franchisee Shaji Joseph, of Tampa, hoses down the front walkway of his store at 6401 Park Boulevard, Pinellas Park. The business has a new look including signage and exterior tile. One drive through has been eliminated for an outdoor dining area, right. Joseph owns nine Checkers and is planning to open his tenth in Tampa.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times ]
  3. City Council approves $5 million for Clearwater Marine Aquarium expansion


    CLEARWATER — The City Council on Thursday approved contributing $5 million to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for its massive expansion project.

    Clearwater has agreed to contributed $5 million to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium 
's $66 million expansion project.. [ Clearwater Marine Aquarium] 

  4. Trigaux: Florida, Tampa Bay lagging in growth of their startups

    Economic Development

    The annual assessment of how entrepreneurs are doing across the country is out from the Kauffman Foundation — among the best watchers of the nation's startup scene. How do Florida and Tampa Bay fare?

    Lured by financial incentives, startup GeniusCentral relocated from Manatee County in 2015 to St. Petersburg, promising to creatye 40 new jobs. It took downtown space in an appropriately creative workpace for entrepreneurs. It did not last there, later moving back to less expensive space in Manatee. A new Kauffman Index report on entrepreneurship found that Florida is a good place to launch startups but a tougher place to grow them.
  5. Pleasant dreams: sleep travel site gives high marks to Tampa airport


    TAMPA — Traveling might be considered closer to a nightmare than a dream for many. But that might be different for those who travel through Tampa International Airport. It was ranked the No. 3 overall best airport in North America by Sleeping in Airports, a travel site that tracks the best airports to catch some …

    Tampa International Airport was ranked as the No. 3 best overall airport by travel site Sleeping in Airports. | [Times file photo]