• Tue. Sep 26th, 2023

    Coral Gables Mayor and Lobbyist Leave Real Estate Brokerage Amid Corruption Charges

    ByNuala Hafner

    Sep 20, 2023
    Coral Gables Mayor and Lobbyist Leave Real Estate Brokerage Amid Corruption Charges

    Coral Gables Mayor Vince Lago and lobbyist William “Bill” Riley have recently departed from Rosa Commercial Real Estate, a politically connected real estate brokerage. Riley was arrested last week on corruption charges related to alleged bribery of a Miami commissioner. Both Lago and Riley’s names have been removed from the state’s list of registered agents for the brokerage.

    Riley stated that his departure from the brokerage is unrelated to his arrest and is instead based on the allegations surrounding Rosa Commercial Real Estate. Last month, the brokerage made a six-figure commission from a deal involving embattled real estate developer Rishi Kapoor, whose business is under investigation by federal agencies.

    The sale that resulted in the commission occurred in 2022 and involved a property located in Coral Gables. Lago, who has denied any involvement in the transaction, had recently transferred his real estate license to the brokerage and was also leasing space to Kapoor’s firm in a building he co-owned.

    Prior to Riley’s arrest, Lago and Riley were among the five registered sales agents with Rosa Commercial Real Estate. The brokerage is owned by Hialeah Mayor Esteban “Steve” Bovo’s stepson, former Hialeah Councilman Oscar De La Rosa. Currently, only Bovo, De La Rosa’s wife Amanda Bonvecchio, and De La Rosa himself are listed as agents for the brokerage.

    The state’s licensure database shows that Granell and Casas, Lago’s Chief of Staff and another individual respectively, also had their licenses become inactive on the same day as Riley’s arrest. The database does not indicate the exact date when Lago’s license became inactive.

    Both Lago and Granell declined to comment on the matter, and the city spokesperson stated that it is a personal issue not related to the City of Coral Gables. Riley mentioned in a previous interview that he had minimal involvement with Rosa Commercial Real Estate, having closed on only one deal. He stated that he had preexisting relationships with De La Rosa and Bovo before joining the brokerage.

    Riley and Miami City Commissioner Alex Díaz de la Portilla are charged with money laundering, unlawful compensation, bribery, and criminal conspiracy. Riley is also charged with failure to disclose lobbyist expenses. Both individuals have denied the allegations.

    – Corruption charges: Legal charges related to dishonest or unethical conduct involving bribery, fraud, or abuse of power for personal gain.
    – Real estate brokerage: A company or organization that acts as an intermediary between buyers and sellers of real estate properties.
    – Lobbyist: A professional who engages in activities aimed at influencing and shaping public opinion and legislation on behalf of individuals or organizations.
    – Commission: A fee or percentage of the total transaction value paid to a real estate brokerage for their services.
    – Federal investigation: An investigation conducted by federal law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, SEC, or IRS, to examine potential violations of federal laws.

    – Tess Riski, “Coral Gables Mayor and lobbyist have left a politically connected real estate brokerage,” Miami Herald
    – Definitions retrieved from Oxford Languages