FLORIDA – Developer in prison, but Clearwater condo owners still paying the price
Article Courtesy of The Tampa Bay Times
By Tracy McManus
Published December 6, 2016
CLEARWATER — When Wayne Chase retired from his nuclear plant job in 2012 and bought a waterfront condo overlooking Tampa Bay, he knew he’d pay the typical fees that come with gated community living.
But when he got his tax bill that year for his two-bedroom unit in Grand Venezia off U.S. 19 and Belleair Road, he was surprised to see $1,600 in assessments on top of the $1,000 in property taxes.
It wasn’t until he started asking neighbors that he discovered most of that $1,600 bill was an assessment to pay off a debt run up by a convicted felon who ran the development as a Ponzi scheme years before Chase settled there.
Although the mastermind of the failed Grand Venezia luxury resort project in the Clearwater Cay Development District is serving a 40-year federal sentence for fraud, residents of the 336-unit complex are still paying for his crime. Former developer Dave Clark’s company took out a $30 million note for his promised resort in Clearwater, one of 14 Cay Clubs from Las Vegas to the Keys, but a decade after the plan crumbled, residents are still paying back the debt through assessments.
The bonds were issued to build a water park, high-end retail, a spa, canals with gondoliers and other amenities around the existing apartments that were converted into condos — but the infrastructure was never built. And likely never will be. Read more: