The Miami Beach philanthropist, who founded Capital Bank in 1974, died Saturday. He was 86.
When Abel Holtz came to South Florida from Cuba in 1961, he used his law degree and determination to build a banking empire that would turn him into a multimillionaire.
He used his fortune to help the community. He supported arts, sports and children’s medical care across Miami-Dade County. A downtown Miami street, a children’s hospital at Jackson Memorial and a tennis center in Miami Beach all carried his name.
In the 1980s, Holtz met former Miami Beach Mayor Alex Daoud, who in 1991 was slapped with a 41-count federal indictment charging him with racketeering, extortion, money laundering and filing false tax returns.
Daoud testified that Holtz bribed him for political favor. Daoud was sentenced to five years in prison, but served only about 18 months.
Holtz was sentenced to 45 days. After his conviction, he could no longer run the bank, and turned it over to his son Daniel.
Before his felony conviction was pardoned by Trump, Holtz had support from Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart along with friends and business colleagues in the Greater Miami community, according to the White House.
Abel Holtz – President Trump granted a full pardon to Abel Holtz. This pardon is supported by Representative Mario Diaz-Balart and friends and business colleagues in his community. Mr. Holtz is currently 86 years old. In 1995, he pled guilty to one count of impeding a grand jury investigation and was sentenced to 45 days in prison.
Before his conviction, Mr. Holtz, who was the Chairman of a local bank, never had any legal issues and has had no other legal issues since his conviction. Mr. Holtz has devoted extensive time and resources to supporting charitable causes in South Florida, including substantial donations to the City of Miami Beach.
Capital Bank founder Abel Holtz, a civic icon whose career faded amid sexual harassment complaints and accusations that he misused bank funds, pleaded guilty to lying to a Federal grand jury that investigated former Miami Beach Mayor Alex Daoud. On the same day that another grand jury was poised to vote on an indictment against him, Holtz, 59, stepped before a federal judge and admitted he had lied about payments he made to Daoud, then in prison on public corruption charges. Holtz admitted that he paid Daoud for legal services that were not provided but did not say what he got for his money.
Rebecca Fischer, former chief lawyer for Miami's Capital Bank, accused Abel Holtz, of engaging in "the unwelcome touching of my body" - (AKA, "sexual harassment on the job"). Then, Capital Bank - without its board's prior approval - handed her and another woman accuser $355,000 in bank funds to shut up and go away!
The section of SW 16th Street near FIU (formerly called Jose Canseco Boulevard), was renamed to Abel Holtz Blvd. Apparently the good people on the County Commission felt it was not quite appropriate to have a city street named after the man who ushered in baseball’s steroid era. Fair enough, County Commission, nobody wants to live on a street named after a cheater, liar and sexual harasser.
But while Canseco admitted to cheating at what is ultimately a meaningless game with pretty much irrelevant consequences, there is another stretch of road in this town named after a far worse cheater. One who cheated not only the people of Dade County, but also cheated at life. I am talking, of course, about SE 2nd Ave., also known as Abel Holtz Blvd.
"After the swearing in (new term), my cousin, the former Chief Assistant Miami Beach Attorney Chris Korge congratulated me and handed over a large brown envelope with ten thousand dollars in cash. My cousin hadn't helped me during my election for mayor, but now he was acting as a lobbyist trying to bribe me. In one of the ironic twists that characterizes local politics, it was a campaign contribution from Jim Dougherty, now the husband of former (Miami Beach) city attorney Lucia Allen (Lucia Dougherty), who had been my close confident and lover...My cousin's candor on the matter surprised me; he was acting as a bagman for some attorney I hardly knew.
SECOND BRIBE - CHRIS KORGE LIES:
“During this crucial time, Chris Korge, my cousin and the man who had given me my first bribe as mayor, tried to bribe me again. My cousin had catapulted from his early job in the city attorney’s office to become a wealthy national political lobbyist. He was making big money — the Marriot Hotel chain had hired him as a lobbyist. They wanted to build a hotel on the only oceanfront city-owned park in South Beach. Chris offered me twenty five thousand in cash for my support and vote on the project. I refused, telling him that the FBI was about to indict me. Unbelievably, he raised the ante to fifty thousand.”
Eye On Miami: Chris Korge: Alex Daoud Outs His Cousin Korge's Bribes
Chris Korge, a major Democratic fundraiser, has raised campaign cash for some of the biggest names in politics. These include Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, John Kerry and Al Gore.
Korge has been named in several foreclosure lawsuits related to investment properties in SW Miami Dade.
Much of Chris Korge's massive wealth has come from "closed door" deal-making at MIA. Korge is a Coral Gables attorney who has made a fortune representing clients desiring to do business at MIA (Miami International Airport). Korg partnered with one of his former clients in airport-concessions deals at MIA and other airports around the country. Korge is also an investor and senior adviser at the Americas Group, a global business consulting firm.
"It’s illegal to create a sham minority firm for the purpose of securing public contracts. Investigators have been trying to figure out what services, if any, were provided by Korge’s friends who presented themselves as “disadvantaged” partners."
CHRIS KORGE LIES
"It’s not easy to sell yourself as the voice of integrity, when so many slime trails lead straight to your door."
In the concrete floor of Hall C of the Miami Beach Convention Center, where in 1964 a 22-year-old Cassius Clay “shook the world” and upset a heavily favored Sonny Liston, a bronze medallion commemorating the historic fight was embedded 27 years later.
It was a fabulous dedication ceremony in July 1991 to honor the man, now known as Muhammad Ali, by naming the hall after him. A plaque on the wall was unveiled, a tribute from the city of Miami Beach. Along with it, the bronze disk was put in the ground to mark the spot where the boxing ring from that storied fight had stood.
Now decades after he changed his name upon converting to Islam, after his suspension from boxing because of his objection to serving in the military during Vietnam, and after a comeback from his three-year exile from the sport that solidified an unparalleled legacy as the Greatest, that medallion, about 10 inches in diameter, is gone.
Former Miami Beach Mayor Alex Daoud has taken a shot at current Mayor Matti Herrera Bower by posting a compromising photo of Bower on the website for his Sins of South Beach book. The photo, which was posted briefly months ago on a local blog, shows Bower at Twist nightclub stuffing bills into the briefs of a well-tanned male dancer.
Daoud, who was convicted in the 1990s of taking bribes while in office, and whose book is slated to be shot as a feature film, said Friday that he posted the picture because the mayor is trying to kill his movie. Daoud said he wanted to show people that Bower is a hypocrite — voting against alcohol sales at Club Madonna gentlemen’s club on the dais and stuffing dollars down a dancer’s delicates behind closed doors.
“She turns around and goes to Twist and she’s giving back to the community by reaching for the grapes of wrath,” said Daoud, who said Madonna owner Leroy Griffith is a friend.
Bower said Friday that the picture was taken during a 2007 campaign event, and that she’s considered putting it on her own campaign website. Bower denied trying to stop the filming of Sins of South Beach.
“This is not nudity and there’s a difference, so I’m not hypocritical,” Bower said. “I don’t feel I did anything incorrect.”
Friday December 3rd at 10am, Former Miami Beach Mayor Alex Daoud will be a guest on WRPBITV with Host Barry Epstein.
Daoud will discuss his book “Sins of South Beach The True Story of Corruption, Violence, Murder, and the Making of Miami Beach” and his upcoming book signing party this Saturday, December 4th, at Walgreens at 501 Collins Avenue. Tune in to watch the show online by going to http://www.wrpbitv.com and clicking on the video on demand.
The Barry Epstein Show, often referred to as South Florida’s “Larry King Live,” because of it’s similar format, is a staple in South Florida with over 32,0000 viewers.
The book “Sins of South Beach” is Alex Daoud’s portrait of the city he led for three terms as mayor during the anything-goes ’80s – when “cocaine cowboys” slaughtered each other in bloody drug wars and refugees from the Mariel Boatlift, many released by Fidel Castro from his worst jails and insane asylums, terrorized the predominately elderly Jewish population of Miami Beach. It’s the story of a city’s renaissance and the crime and corruption, which fueled it. Daoud was a driving force behind the rebirth of the city.
“Sins of South Beach” has been acquired for cinematic release by Cinepro Pictures. Internationally renowned filmmaker Philippe Martinez will produce the movie. His credits include over 30 films including Modigliani starring Andy Garcia. The world premier of the movie will be in South Beach.
Miami Beach – Alex Daoud, three-time mayor of Miami Beach will sign copies of his controversial expose, “Sins of South Beach" at Florida's largest, newly opened Walgreens at 501 Collins Avenue in Miami Beach on December 4th from 11-3 p.m. The event is free, open to the public, and will feature music and food.
“An astonishing exposé on Miami Beach by one of the city’s most beloved mayors,” says New York Times best-selling author Steven Gaines. “The revelations are stunning—sex, corruption, police misconduct, villains and heroes.”
“Sins of South Beach” is Alex Daoud’s portrait of the city he led for three terms as mayor during the anything-goes ‘80s – when “cocaine cowboys” slaughtered each other in bloody drug wars and refugees from the Mariel Boatlift, many released by Fidel Castro from his worst jails and insane asylums, terrorized the predominately elderly Jewish population of Miami Beach. It’s the story of a city’s renaissance and the crime and corruption, which fueled it. Daoud was a driving force behind the rebirth of the city.
“Sins of South Beach" has been acquired for cinematic release by Cinepro Pictures. The movie will be produced by internationally renowned filmmaker Philippe Martinez. His credits include over 30 films including Modigliani starring Andy Garcia. The world premier of the movie will be in South Beach.
"Sins of South Beach" is now available at the seven Walgreens conveniently located throughout Miami Beach. On December 4th. the public will get to meet the charismatic former mayor turned author and purchase autographed copies of his book that will soon be a major motion picture.
Once upon a time the name Alex Daoud was synonymous with political corruption, at least on Miami Beach. After all, the wildly popular mayor was eventually busted for the kind of paternalistic, ol' boy corruption that, well, defines much of the history of a broader South Florida community built on land scams and get-rich-quick schemes.
Despite his colorful history, though, Daoud's popularity with longtime Beach residents has waned surprisingly little. Since his liberation from prison, he's penned a tell-all book, is working on the movie version, and is enjoying life on Miami Beach as a kind-of elder statesman now removed from political circles.
After all, in an era in which congressmen are openly bought off for their votes and in which corruption has become political infrastructure, the kind of shenanigans for which Daoud was busted seem charming. After all, anyone who has ever met Daoud can tell he has a real love and passion for Miami Beach.
Daoud is nothing if not a ubiquitous Miami Beach character.
Beach native Daoud is an author and the former mayor of Miami Beach, Florida who served from 1985 to 1991.
Daoud was elected to the Miami Beach City Commission in 1979. He was re-elected to a second term in 1981 and a third term in 1983. In 1985, he became the first Roman CatholicÂ to be elected mayor of Miami Beach. In 1987, he won re-election by eighty-six percent of the popular vote. In 1989, he was re-elected to an unprecedented third term as mayor of Miami Beach.
Daoud was a beloved mayor but lived a scandalous life while in office. In his book Sins of South Beach The True Story of Corruption, Violence, Murder, and the Making of Miami Beach, he describes how, as an idealistic young lawyer, he was seduced by money, power and sex. The former mayor was indicted for 41 counts of bribery, served eighteen months in a federal prisonÂ and retired from politics.
Daoud still is active in the community. In his bookÂ he recounts going on vigilanteÂ patrols with the Miami Beach Police DepartmentÂ while both city councilman and mayor routinely kidnapping and beating criminal suspects.
Sins of South Beach, Daoud’s autobiographical expose, is a portrait of the city he led for three terms as mayor during the anything-goes ’80s — when “cocaine cowboys” slaughtered each other in bloody drug wars and refugees from the Mariel Boatlift, many released by Fidel Castro from his worst jails and insane asylums, terrorized the predominantly elderly Jewish population of Miami Beach. Â It’s the story of a city’s renaissance and the crime and corruption that fueled it. The book has received many excellent reviews and is to become a major motion picture. Cinepro Pictures/ Phillipe Martinez Productions has acquired the exclusive rights to produce the film. Â Martinez is the internationally renowned producer of over 30 films. The majority of the filming is expected to take place in Miami Beach.
Just last week, a pre-production crew for the film version of Sins was in town, coincidentally at the same time that the Fifth Street Gym re-opening was being celebrated. Daoud, a boxing enthusiast, worked out at the famous Fifth Street Gym during its heyday. The former mayor trained under Angelo Dundee and did roadwork with the likes of Muhammad Ali and other world champion. Daoud was, of course, invited to the event as a special celebrity guest.
SunPost decided the occasion called for a chat with Daoud on his thoughts on his colorful life, current projects and the state of Miami Beach today the good, the bad and the unchanged after these many years.
MS: How was the event at the Fifth Street Gym last week, your old stomping grounds?
AD: You know, I ended up not going. I started to go, but I decided that I just didn't want to see Ali in the condition he is in. I understand he has really deteriorated and I feel bad for him.
MS: What do you think about the re-opening of the Fifth Street Gym?
AD: Oh, the new gym is nothing like the old gym. The new gym is more like a museum. It doesn't have the feel or the ambiance of the old Fifth Street Gym. The Fifth Street Gym was one of a kind.
MS: I understand that the folks producing the movie from your book, Sins of South Beach, were in town at the same time last week? Where is the movie project at now?
AD: We're in pre-production and they are in the process of getting a script together. I also understand that they are in the process of raising the budget for the movie. I think they are looking to get a higher budget than the initial $15 million, which was already a really big number. They are also apparently talking to some major stars about being in the movie.
MS: What is your involvement in the movie production?
AD: They have had me on as a consultant and I think it's a great opportunity. Among other things, a lot of the movie will be shot here and I can help make sure that goes well and that the filming here ends up being financially good for the residents too.
One of the things that has been interesting is how many people have come up to me and wanted parts in the movie. I told the producers that I would like to be responsible for casting the female extras. He told me he was afraid I would sell the parts. I told him, no, but that I would try them out first.
MS: A lot of people might have kept a very low profile or even left town after what you have been through. Instead, you've been very public and very frank about your experiences, good and bad. Why did you take this particular approach?
AD: Well, I think there are lessons to be learned from the mistakes I made with my life. It's not how hard you get hit; it's how hard you come back after you've been hit. A lot of people abandoned me. You know I went to trial and so many people like Abel Holtz just plead guilty. People have forgotten what other people did.
The lesson isâ€¦that the public had the opportunity to learn how the process of politics works. It's a dirty process. There is nothing friendly about it inside. It's sad that so few people know how politics really works. I love Miami Beach and I felt like no one could run me out of it. People needed to know how things really worked in politics here.
Now, I stay away from politics and I have a whole new area of life. I am able to meet people and be candid and honest with them.
MS: When you said you made mistakes what do you see as the biggest mistake that you made?
AD: Avarice. Very much so. I got to the point where I had millionaires and billionaires asking me for favors and here I am making $10,000 a year. I figured, why should I make $10,000 a year when they couldn't get elected mayor of Miami Beach. So, it was like, hey I can be your lawyerâ€¦
MS: Why is it so hard for politicians to ever admit they made a mistake?
AD: It's about ego. You love the adulation of the public. Everyone likes feeling like a rock star. Hey I enjoyed it very much. I loved the interaction with the public. My phone number was always listed. My home number was on my business card. I even put my email address and phone number in the back of my book.
MS: Do you ever run into the people from the old political crowd?
AD: Well, I don't hang out with lobbyists, but yeah, you run into people. It's interesting that no one sued me from the book. No one even tried to kill me! I was told when the book came out that I would be sued because I named names of people doing illegal things. It never happened. Not once. That's because everything in Sins of South Beach is true. Well, some women from the book said that I embellished the love scenes. But, I said, hey, as you get older, that's how you enjoy life.
MS: How has Sins of South Beach done?
AD: Well, particularly considering I self-published it and there was very little publicity. The Miami Herald never even wrote a word about the book. What a surprise that the Herald didn't want to cover political corruption ha!
But the book also helped rehabilitate me. By getting the truth out, I got the venom out. I wanted to tell the truth and to tell it in an enjoyable fashion. It's funny; people asked me who wrote the book like, who was the ghostwriter. But, no, I wrote it myself.
MS: You mentioned you were working on a second book. What is it about?
AD: It's a science fiction book about immortality really.
My uncle was an M.D. and was in a MASH unit in WW II. After I got out of prison, I was going through stuff and found an old [family bible]. There was an old crumpled up piece of paper in it that fell out. It was a poem that my uncle wrote while going to my father's funeral, for their mother. It was so beautiful. The story came out of that it was just crystal clear.
MS: What do you think of the state of Miami Beach today?
AD: I think that there is good and bad. You used to have families on Miami Beach; a huge elderly population; and one of the largest populations of Holocaust survivors in the country. Unfortunately when Castro's criminals came over here and Carter was duped, the place was horrible. We had two police officers killed and people didn't remember that. We've lost something, but we have gained something in return. Many families are gone and beautiful old synagogues are closing or have dwindled. We have changed from a family-oriented city to a party city.
I also think a lot of politicians really haven't cared very much. The current mayor is not as responsive as previous mayors. I was always available.
MS: Do you think politics is any different now, any less corrupt?
AD: No, I don't think that's changed at all. In many ways it's gotten worse. When people spend half a million dollars to get a job that pays $10,000 a year, it's just egregious.
Besides many of the same people who were involved when I was mayor are still involved the same bagmen.
It isn't just Miami Beach. Across the bay, the mayor gave his staff big bonuses while so many people are strugglingâ€¦it's absurd.
MS: Is the idea that you could get involved again in politics ever appealing to you?
AD: To tell the truth and to be able to name names is how I get involved. I don't know of any other book that names names when it comes to committing crimes.
MS: What do you think is the largest contribution you made to the development of Miami Beach?
AD: Probably that we made the city safe at a time when it was totally unsafe. A lot of lived were lost. Everyone joined together to help make [Miami Beach] a better place. One of the things I love about Miami Beach is that people of all backgrounds have been able to work together and that everyone is treated like a human being. That really stands out.
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