Park Authority Uses Muscle to shut down Kid's Sailing Programme - help

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by caribmon, Aug 24, 2017.

  1. caribmon
    Joined: Nov 2001
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    Location: Netherlands - Brazil

    caribmon Junior Member

    From Michel Benarrosh - owner of

    I need your attention – NOT YOUR MONEY - for 3 minutes. I will spare you useless details.

    I belong to a 40-year old boating school in Matheson Park, Coral Gables, Florida, (near Miami) called CASTLE HARBOR SAILING SCHOOL, with about 140 members and 14 boats. This is the only licensed on-water boating school in Dade and Broward. It is very close to my heart because they offer sailing camps for kids and underprivileged kids, every summer, thanks to grants and donations from members. And of course, ongoing sailing and boating classes to parents, kids etc. One of the legendary members is 93 years-old, winning most races, and he says that his weekend races are what keeps him alive and going.

    About 2 months ago, the Park authority, with no warning, came up to the new school owner (a veteran champion sailor who bought the school 2 years ago from the founder) and said (get this!):

    We have realized that we have “omitted” to bill you rent escalation for 14 years!!! So you owe us $143,000 plus interests. Pay up or you’re out by September 4”.

    Needless to say the school does not have that kind of money. The owner has offered multiple solutions, like a payment plan, or a month-to-month extension until he can relocate the 14 boats, the staff and equipment etc… The Park has flat-out declined any negotiation or solution, arguing also about an obscure lease clause.

    In fact, the real (political??) reason is that the Park and City of Miami intend to build (reportedly through a developer??) a restaurant, bar, etc. They could have easily accommodated the school in that building, because the school does not need much space. They also refused.

    In fact, they just want the school out, throwing out the window: all the staff members and the contractors who depend on the school for work, the kids sailing camps, and a legendary institution that has served the local community for 40 years.

    It has been impossible to find another location for the school so far. We have all written to Miami Mayor Gimenez and Park Director Nardi. They are not interested. And now time is running very short.Desperately short.

    So we want to take this shameful story public and viral. We – club members - are going all out to all our connections, sailors or not to help save Castle Harbor. What can we do?

    • Activate any connection you may have, at the Miami Herald or any news outlet
    • Tweet the Mayor: Carlos A. Gimenez (@MayorGimenez) · Twitter
    • Tweet the Miami-Dade Parks (@MiamiDadeParks) · Twitter
    • Email Mayor Gimenez:
    • Give us any bright idea you may have

    We cannot lose this. It would be a terrible injustice, and there is nothing I hate more than that.

    Thank you very much in advance.
  2. philSweet
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: Beaufort, SC and H'ville, NC

    philSweet Senior Member

    It would appear the 'useless details' include all the relevant facts, as well.
  3. waikikin
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Australia

    waikikin Senior Member

    Sounds like the proprietor needs to have the terms of the lease agreement looked over by a legal professional. Sometimes just because a petty bureaucrat is in charge doesn't mean they are correct... it would seem that the yearly "offer" has been fulfilled... but after 14 years the rent would be low. They might need to adapt to a new circumstance & become pontoon based or similar- good luck fighting city hall..
  4. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    You should talk to a lawyer that can review the terms of the sale contract. Usually contracts have a clause that the property has no liens or debts attached.
  5. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Agreed, instead of whining about what might happen or appears to be happening, an attorney can find and usually stop these types of political overreaches. At the very least is can be halted for the time being, as the courts have a look at the process and paperwork. Get a $100 donation from each of your club members and hire an experienced lawyer on the problem
  6. Angélique
    Joined: Feb 2009
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    Location: Belgium ⇄ The Netherlands

    Angélique aka Angel (only by name)

    I would say by not asking rent escalation for 14 years the fixed rent has now become custom (law).

    Or by now you're at least entitled to a transitional arrangement.

    Best do as the previous posters said, maybe some (good?) lawyer would do this on a no cure no pay basis, so you only have to collect the money from your club members if there's a success, or the counterparty is ordered to pay the costs as a part of the verdict.

    Good luck !

  7. Rurudyne
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    Location: North Texas

    Rurudyne Senior Member

    I would go one step further: when they didn't previously raise rent, but accepted payment without comment, it wasn't raised as you point out. Their attempt to raise the rent after the fast is an Ex-Post Facto act. They can obviously raise the rent in the current year but not in the previous years when the rent was not raised. They certainly have no grounds to charge interest on rent they did not previously say was due.
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