Wednesday, January 17, 2018
News Roundup

Another Cay Club executive indicted in Ponzi scheme involving Clearwater condos

It has been about eight years since a luxury real estate venture in Clearwater and other locations across the state was outed as a Ponzi scheme, but another executive has now been indicted for his role, accused of defrauding investors.

Former Cay Clubs Resorts and Marinas vice president David Schwarz was indicted last week on eight counts of bank fraud, conspiracy, interference with Internal Revenue laws and making false statements in connection with a federal loan.

Schwarz's partner in the business, Fred Davis Clark Jr., was sentenced in February to 40 years in prison for masterminding the $300 million scheme that promised investors they would receive steady rental income and upfront "lease-back'' payments of up to 20 percent of the purchase price of their condos.

Schwarz is accused of creating numerous bank accounts under the Cay Clubs name and using family members as straw borrowers for loans to purchase condo units, according to the indictment filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The loan applications would also include false claims of employment, wages and assets for the fraudulent borrowers.

The proceeds of the fraudulently obtained mortgage loans were deposited into Cay Clubs accounts controlled by Schwarz and Clark, according to the indictment.

The Cay Clubs venture in Clearwater promised to turn the run-down Grand Venezia condos near Belleair Road and U.S. 19 into a luxury resort with everything from a waterslide to a spa.

However, no development was ever started, and residents today in the 336 units still pay an assessment to pay off the accumulated debt.

Safety Harbor lawyer Bruce Barnes, on behalf of the homeowners' association, filed a motion to dissolve the community development district that collects the assessment based on the premise it no longer meets the definition of a CDD. Judge Walter L. Schafer denied the motion last week, but legal arguments continue.

As of 2007, Schwarz and Clark obtained more than $28 million in proceeds from Cay Clubs Resorts, which had 17 locations in Florida, Las Vegas and the Caribbean.

Contact Tracey McManus at [email protected] or (727) 445-4151. Follow @TroMcManus.

Comments
Navy files criminal charges in connection with deadly ship collisions, including negligent homicide

Navy files criminal charges in connection with deadly ship collisions, including negligent homicide

Washington PostFive Navy officers involved in ship collisions that killed a combined 17 sailors last year will face a variety of criminal charges, including negligent homicide, the service announced Tuesday night.The individuals include Cmdr. Bryce B...
Updated: 2 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Jan. 16

Tuesday’s scoreboardGirls soccerLennard 8, Blake 0Osceola 1, Clearwater Central Cath. 0Boys soccerIndian Rocks Chr. 4, Bishop McLaughlin 0
Updated: 4 hours ago
Career Q&A: What to do when your boss is stealing

Career Q&A: What to do when your boss is stealing

Q: I strongly suspect that my boss is stealing from our employer. As the property manager for this apartment complex, she handles all payments, deposits and other financial matters.A few weeks ago, I accidentally discovered some suspicious discrepanc...
Updated: 5 hours ago

St. Pete officer suspended for month after pushing concert guard

ST. PETERSBURG — A police officer was suspended for a month after he pushed a security guard at a summer concert in Tampa, according to St. Petersburg police.It could have been worse: Chief Tony Holloway determined Officer Curtis Wright could have be...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Women speak out on abuse by Nassar; Nation’s first Sikh attorney general confirmed; more in U.S. news

Women speak out on abuse by Nassar; Nation’s first Sikh attorney general confirmed; more in U.S. news

Updated: 6 hours ago
In major shift, House bill would turn three USF universities into one

In major shift, House bill would turn three USF universities into one

Separate accreditation has long been a point of pride and a stamp of independence for the St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee branches of the University of South Florida.Graduates of those schools frame diplomas bearing the name of their own universi...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Video captures basketball game between kids, St. Petersburg officers

Video captures basketball game between kids, St. Petersburg officers

ST. PETERSBURG — Teamwork wins games, they say. And basketball can bridge gaps.That’s what makes the Facebook video of three St. Petersburg police officers playing a game of pickup in the street against three kids so compelling. The officers, who wer...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Top Hillsborough teaching honor goes to a Lewis Elementary educator

Top Hillsborough teaching honor goes to a Lewis Elementary educator

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year is a self-described "busy, busy bee" who never tires of exploring new ways to help students learn, even if she has to be creative.At 56, Bonnie Bresnyan also is a mentor for the next generation of s...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Casino boat operator in fatal fire had maintenance, safety issues before earlier blaze

Casino boat operator in fatal fire had maintenance, safety issues before earlier blaze

PORT RICHEY — The casino boat operator whose shuttle caught fire Sunday, leaving one passenger dead, says it does not know what could have caused the blaze.But federal records show the company, now called Tropical Breeze Casino Cruz, had another boat...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Goodbye 70s. Hello freeze watch. Cold spell headed for Tampa Bay.

Goodbye 70s. Hello freeze watch. Cold spell headed for Tampa Bay.

Did everyone enjoy the cool, sunny weather? Because it’s over now.It’s about to get very chilly, Tampa Bay. A rush of arctic air is headed our way, bringing another cold spell. Daytime temperatures will be in the low 60s on Wednesday, but overnight t...
Updated: 8 hours ago