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By Paul Brinkmann
April 5, 2013
Longtime Miami developer Ugo Colombo is attempting to sell a $20 million corporate jet through Chapter 11 bankruptcy. But another well-known developer Craig Robins, who has been litigating with Columbo’s company, contests the bankruptcy.
Another titan of South Florida development, Jeff Soffer of the Turnberry companies, was involved in early disputes over the jet but has since dropped out of the litigation.
According to attorneys and court records, the dispute surrounding the Bombardier Challenger jet included alleged debt owed to Turnberry of up to $700,000.
Robins’ company, CL36 Leasing, which reportedly bought an interest in the jet in 2007, has alleged that Colombo’s company agreed to buy out CL36’s ownership but never paid the agreed price.
Colombo’s company attorney, Jim Robinson of White & Case, said his client alleges that Robins “walked away from his obligations” to the company.
Plane has debt of about $10 million
Regardless of the dispute between Robins and Colombo, UC Challenger sought bankruptcy protection after Bank of America sued over debt on the plane of roughly $10 million.
“The plane needs to get sold. The only place to sell it is through a bankruptcy sale,” said Peter Russin, an attorney with Meland Russin & Budwick who represents UC Challenger. “There’s no other place to get a sale done when you’re facing these kinds of disputes.”
Robins’ company has filed objections and motions to dismiss the bankruptcy.
Colombo is known for the luxury EPIC Hotel in downtown Miami and many other projects. He is currently a partner in a joint venture bidding to redevelop the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Robins owns Dacra Development, which had a role in the revitalization of Miami Beach and is currently involved in developing Miami’s Design District.
In a 2010 deposition, Soffer said he was asked by Colombo to sue the UC Challenger company.
“Truthfully looking back at this whole thing I made a mistake getting myself involved in this lawsuit in the first place,” Soffer said. “I had the right… to just ground the airplane in order to get Mr. Colombo to pay it, and obviously being a friend I, you know, he asked me to do him a favor and sue him and I sued him.”