WELLINGTON — The billionaire former owner of the old Miami Arena is under criminal investigation by the Broward County State Attorney’s office for fraud.
A spokesman for the county’s top law enforcer confirms developer Glenn Straub, 70, is under scrutiny for allegedly filing what could be fraudulent construction liens against the ranch and townhouse of a former lover in revenge for their breakup.
The case was referred to Broward after Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg recused himself because he is a friend of Wellington resident Straub’s.
Straub was once downtown Miami’s biggest land owner. He bought the arena for $28 million in 2004 long after the Miami Heat moved down the street to the Triple A, and ran it for a few years as a concert venue. In time, Straub demolished it and sold the land for $35 million in 2012.
Straub is also the developer of Wellington’s Palm Beach Polo & Country Club, once the favored polo venue for Britain’s Prince Charles, and the new owner of Atlantic City’s Revel Casino, a $2 billion-property expected to revitalize the New Jersey resort city.
Straub, however, is also known as a businessman who likes to tell folks he never gave anyone anything for free.
And socialite Jessica Nicodemo, Straub’s ex- and much younger girlfriend, could testify to that.
Earlier this year, according to records, Straub’s land company slapped a lien on the 33-year-old Nicodemo’s ranch, claiming it had done $64,400 worth of road and fencing work that wasn’t paid.
On the same day, Straub’s company filed another lien for $12,720 in unpaid work on the pool and patio of Nicodemo’s townhouse.
Straub is currently trying to foreclose on the liens and take the properties, never mind that satellite photos show Nicodemo’s townhouse has no pool.
In court papers, Nicodemo admits she wasn’t expecting to be charged for the work since she and Straub were an item at the time the work was performed.
She argues the only reason he liened her properties was because they broke up.
According to a friend of Nicodemo’s who asked not to be identified, the young woman broke up with Straub because he “tried to control her.”
“He thought that the prospect of losing her home would bring her back to him,” the friend said.
Neither Craig Galle, Straub’s lawyer, nor Elizabeth Parker, Nicodemo’s, returned calls for comment.