Tree-killing, Wetland-Destroying Land Speculator ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBARD'S Felonious Business Partner, THOMAS COGHILL, JR. Pleads Guilty to New Crime
THOMAS E. COGHILL, JR. pled guilty Friday in Federal Court in Lynchburg, Virginia to obstruction of justice by violating terms of his bank fraud sentence by exercising "dominion and control" over St. Augustine real estate speculators' companies, including several involving ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBARD, long one of the favorites of St. Augustine City Commissioners and St. Johns County Commissioners, who got everything he wanted (including forgiveness of a $15,000 tree-killing fine).
THOMAS COGHILL, Jr., former co-owner of Conch House Marina and other local businesses, pled guilty before Judge Norman K. Moon to a single federal felony count of obstruction of justice on Friday, January 8, 2010 to one county of obstruction of justice. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison, according to documents on the federal court website, www.pacer.gov.
COGHILL, already convicted of bank fraud, was prohibited from having any business dealings without permission of his probation officer. In violation of court orders, COGHILL continued real estate dealings in St. Augustine from federal custody.
The indictment to which COGHILL pled guilty said that he was involved in FLorida real estate developments from January 2005 to January 2009, when he "exercised dominion and control of the properties and projects through various collective entities, including: West Palm Beach Developers; Coastal Condominiums at Vilano Beach, LLC; Vilano Beach Condominium Association, Inc.; Riverfront Development Group Revocable Trust; Magnolia Estates of St. Augustine Owners Association, Inc.; Riverfront Development Group, LLC; Deerfield Beach Development, LLC; Windows of Virginia, LLC; Lauderdale Harbors Real Estate Development, LLC; 5810 Flagler Beach Club, LLC; 5000 Flagler Townhomes, LLC; West Palm Beach Real Estate Development Group, LLC; 5000 West Palm Beach Real Estate Development Group, LLC; St. Augustine Builders, LLC; St. Augustine Builders II, LLC; St. Augustine Development Group, LLC; Magnolia Estates, LLC Conch House Builders, LLC; Thomas E. Coghill Jr. Living Trust; THomas Coghill III Living Trust; Conch House Marina; Conch House Builders, LLC; West Palm Beach Developers, LLC; and NTT Investment Group, LLC.
The indictment to which COGHILL pled guilty said that he was involved in millions of dollars of realty transactions during this period, concealing them, while giving E-mail instructions to his business partners from the federal penitentiary.
Back when the Conch House deal was first disclosed, ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBARD, et al. did not disclose the name of convicted felon bank fraudster THOMAS COGHILL, JR. as one of his partners. Will a federal grand jury now issue subpoenas for ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBARD and partners? What do you reckon? And will the St. Augustine Record report the names of all the local companies over which COGHILL pled guilty to "exercis[ing] dominion and control?"
See prior blog posts, below:
THE STRANGE ROMANCE BETWEEN ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA SPECULATOR ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBARD AND OUR COMMISSIONERS REQUIRES INVESTIGATION
On June 11, 2007, during a recess in a St. Augustine City Commission meeting, in a nearly-empty City Commission room, ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBARD walked halfway across the room. City Commissioner SUSAN BURK walked across the room. He leaned over and kissed her. The two once dated. BURK has never recused herself from voting on GRAUBARD projects and investments.
No City Commmissioner ever answered my question at Commission meetings about any "agreements, understandings or relationships" with GRAUBARD.
St. AUGUSTINE COMMISSIONERS like SUSAN BURK, ERROL JONES AND GEORGE GARDNER, among others, have been close to GRAUBARD.
GRAUBARD contributed to GARDNER's campaign last year and has contributed to other campaigns..
CITY COMMISSIONERS forgave a $15,000 tree-killing fine against GRAUBARD without good reason and without allowing citizens to be heard.
Want to build condos and a strip mall on top of a 3000-4000 Indian village with raised mounds signifying what the University of Florida considers significant human history at RED HOUSE BLUFF on RED HOUSE BRANCH? No problem. ST. AUGUSTINE CITY COMMISSIONERS approved 3-2 a GRAUBARD project (his Planned Unit Development or PUD has thankfully expired).
Want to clear-cut trees in support of other speculative developments? No problem, Our incurious pror County Commissioners allowed it to happen.
Now it can be told -- reform County Commission Chair Ben Rich was right -- the speculators were worse than the worst carpetbagger. ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBARD is a landraping scalawag now caught in a web of his own lies.
GRAUBARD's kind of "government relations" require Federal Grand Jury subpoenas.
posted by Ed Slavin @ 5:40 AM 0 comments
Conch House fights foreclosure -- SPECULATOR ROBERT MICHAEL GRAUBARD SUED FOR FRAUDULENT SCHEME -- Case Pending Before Circuit Court
Conch House fights foreclosure
200-slip marina, restaurant, motel, homes, retail area part of dispute
Publication Date: 07/28/07
The family of David M. Ponce Jr., which has owned Conch House Marina Resort at 57 Comares Ave. since 1946, is now fighting a lawsuit by a New York bank to foreclose on that property.
Circuit Court Judge J. Michael Traynor issued an order late Friday denying Ponce attorney Jason B. Burnett's motion to dismiss the case outright. The judge said Burnett, or Gray Robinson, Jacksonville, had failed to create a basis on which to dismiss.
The foreclosure lawsuit initially was filed by Intervest National Bank of New York, which in 2006 loaned five real estate investors -- four St. Johns County residents and a Virginia man -- $17 million for six months to buy the Conch House and adjacent property.
On the table are a 200-slip marina, 17-room motel, three single-family homes across Comares, a restaurant, dockside tiki bar, Salt Run Tavern on Anastasia Boulevard, the antiques store on Comares and Anastasia Boulevard and an empty lot on Comares.
Documents at St. Johns County Courthouse show that the total selling price was $27 million.
At the time, Ponce said 2005 had been good for business.
"Even with all the storms, it was the best year we ever had," he said. "But it's time to move on and enjoy myself. All I've ever done is work."
The five investors, doing business under the name Conch House Builders LLC, consisted of local businessmen Robert M. Graubard of St. Augustine, C. Kelly Smith of Vilano Beach, Jay Culberth of Interstate Hotels and Resorts, Paul Braugart whose address is unknown and Thomas E. Coghill Jr., convicted in federal court of bank and wire fraud in Virginia.
An August 2005 story in The Hook, a Charlottesville, Va., news magazine, said Coghill, now 47, faced 35 years in prison and a $1.25 million fine. He was charged with defrauding merchants, banks and mortgage companies of about $3 million. One of Coghill's victims called him "a silver-tongued devil."
The Ponce family's suit claimed that Robert Graubard, the managing partner of Conch House Builders, negotiated a $17 million loan to buy the property, but that the loan was closed without their knowledge and before the property was transferred to the consortium's control.
They called it a "fraudulent scheme" by Graubard.
Graubard did not return phone calls about this lawsuit. Culbreath, Smith and Braugard could not be located.
Coghill broke his probation in 2006 by master-minding four new land deals in Florida, so he is now serving his 33 month sentence in prison, according to The Hook.
The Conch House Builders told the Ponces that they didn't have enough money to pay the entire $27 million, so they asked the family if they could help finance the acquisition by agreeing to become an investor themselves. For that, they would be paid $10 million in cash and be bought out over time.
The Ponces say that money was never paid. They also did not return phone calls.
Still unknown is who has the $17 million paid by Intervest National Bank.
Payments were made on the loan, bringing its principle down to $16.3 million.
But the last payment was made in February this year.
In their defense, the Ponces claim that the bank charged $3 million as collateral for the loan and charged high interest rates, and that the members of Conch House Builders and the bank "knew or should have known" of Coghill's felony record.
The suit also implied collusion, saying, "These individuals have business relationships in other real estate development projects."
They say the investors did not tell them there would be a third-party financing the deal. "The loan was not commercially reasonable," the Ponce's suit said.
The family is still running the Conch House for now.
In January 2006, when he announced the sale to the world, he said prophetically, "I'm sure it will be a shocker and one of the biggest land deals anyone has ever seen in St. Augustine."