Ugo Colombo (handout)
Miami real estate developer Ugo Colombo came out on top in a courtroom battle with fellow developer Craig Robins.
A Miami jury ordered Craig Robins’ Dacra Development Corp. to pay Colombo $2 million in maintenance fees associated with a jointly owned corporate jet.
Robins and Colombo purchased the $22 million Bombardier Challenger in 2007 and hired Turnberry Management III Inc. to manage it. Under the management agreement, Robins and Colombo agreed to pay operating costs from their individual aircraft operations plus 50 percent of the aircraft’s monthly fixed costs.
Colombo claimed in the lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court that Robins’ company stopped paying in September 2008 after flying around the world.
Robins sued in 2008, first by bringing a malicious prosecution lawsuit against Colombo and his company, CMC Group Inc. Robins claimed Colombo was behind a lawsuit filed by Turnberry, which is managed by yet another big-name developer, Jeffrey Soffer, to collect $200,000 for his trip around the world.
As part of Monday’s verdict, the jury rejected Dacra’s allegations on that claim.
Before the two-week trial, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Darrin P. Gayles dismissed a claim filed by Robins alleging Colombo entered an oral agreement to buy out his partner.
Robins admitted during trial that he purposely defaulted on a bank loan for the plane to shift his $10 million obligation to Colombo.
“All I ever wanted was for Craig Robins to pay his fair share of the airplane expenses,” Colombo said in a statement. “I am glad the jury agreed with me. Not only did they award us damages, but they also confirmed that expecting my partner to pay his bills was not malicious prosecution.”
White & Case partner Jim Robinson, who represented Colombo, called the award a “complete victory” for Colombo.
“He won every claim that he brought against Mr. Robins’ company and defeated every claim that they brought against him,” Robinson said.
Colombo’s legal team included White & Case partners Raoul Cantero and Angela Daker, David Weinstein of Clarke Silverglate in Miami and Jason Giller, also a Miami attorney.
Colombo is responsible for many of the high rises along Brickell Avenue in downtown Miami, including the Epic Hotel. He also owns The Collection, a seven-franchise luxury automobile dealership that sells high-end vehicles such as Jaguars and Ferraris.
Robins was behind much of the Art Deco renaissance in South Beach before turning his attention to the Miami Design District.