Art Dealer Gary Nader Butts Heads With ‘Condo King’ Jorge Perez Over Bid for New Miami Museum

It's a heated and highly personal battle.

Miami art dealer Gary Nader. Courtesy of GaryNader.com
Miami art dealer Gary Nader. Courtesy of GaryNader.com.

It’s safe to assume that Miami art dealer Gary Nader thought his pitch to Miami Dade College for a multi-million-dollar campus development, including a 90,000-square-foot museum of Latin American art with $60 million worth of work from his own collection, would be welcomed with open arms. The proposal reportedly didn’t even require the school to put up any money; it would take ownership of the culture center in exchange for giving over a parking lot.

But when college officials—citing their status as a public institution—opened up the potential development to other proposals, and then gave top ranking to a rival bid from real estate firm Related, run by Miami “condo king” Jorge Perez of the Perez Art Museum Miami, Nader struck back.

Miami Dade College. Courtesy of Phillip Pessar via Flickr.

Miami Dade College. Courtesy of Phillip Pessar via Flickr.

His limited partnership Nader + Museu filed a detailed 49-page formal “protest bid” on August 12, which contains nearly 400 pages of accompanying exhibits directed at Miami Dade College purchasing department, opposing an agreement with Related.

The papers claim that the agreement “failed to comply with requirements for a public-private partnership, repeatedly violated the express terms and conditions of this solicitation and offered an exceeding low valuation for the right to develop private improvements on College owned land…” It notes a $158.5 million difference between “the first and second highest ranked proposers,” calling it “astounding.”

Jorge Pérez. Courtesy of Nick Garcia Photography.

Jorge Pérez. Courtesy of Nick Garcia Photography.

The protest bid and related exhibits suggest that the matter has become extraordinarily contentious and sometimes bizarre, including allegations of a conflict of interest because of a connection between an attorney at a law firm retained by the college, Bilzin Sumberg, and an employee of Perez’s Related Group.

An impressive amount of paperwork in the exhibits is given over to analyzing the more than eight-year connection between Bilzin Sumberg attorney Suzanne Amaducci, and Lissette Calderon, president of Related’s international and strategic projects division, including details about the fact that their daughters have been friends and have attended the same schools. A private investigator even trailed the two.

The Freedom Tower on Biscayne Boulevard in Miami. Courtesy of Harshil Shah via Flickr

The Freedom Tower on Biscayne Boulevard in Miami. Courtesy of Harshil Shah via Flickr.

However, it appears the college board did not see evidence of a conflict of interest. In a report, the college said the board had “determined to move forward with the solicitation/procurement process as scheduled.”

William Riley, an attorney for Nader, told artnet News via email that there is “a statutorily prescribed opportunity to resolve the protest by mutual agreement between the parties within 7 business days after receipt of the formal written protest” filed on August 12. “We have notified the college that we are available to speak and/or meet within this timeframe. They have not responded to us.”

The clock is ticking.

artnet News reached out to Miami Dade college, and spokesman Juan Mendieta wrote in an email: “We have no comment”. A spokesman for Perez and Related was not available for immediate comment.


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