The legal drama taking place behind the doors of the luxurious One Bal Harbour hotel and residences will soon spill into the Miami courtroom of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Mark.
At stake is the future of One Bal Harbour's spa, restaurant and the facilities that are shared by its condo owners and hotel guests.
The glass tower has 185 condos with individual owners, 124 hotel rooms owned by investors and shared facilities including the spa, the pool, the lobby, a restaurant and valet parking owned by Elcom Hotel & Spa.
Elcom, which filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors this month, and the condo owners are set to face off in court Monday. Rooting against Elcom will be a receiver appointed in 2011 by a Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge. Receiver Jorge J. Perez replaced Elcom on the day-to-day operations of the shared facilities following allegations of fraud and mismanagement of maintenance fees and hotel revenue.
Elcom is asking Mark to remove Perez as receiver in favor of Elcom's hand-picked group of professionals, including Embree Bedsole with Alvarez & Marsal Real Estate Advisory Services to act as chief restructuring officer. The team would operate the shared facilities, handle bank account and accounting, and develop a reorganization plan to climb out of bankruptcy.
In recent weeks, Elcom representatives have asked Perez, a former Miami-Dade circuit judge, to step aside. But the chair of the national receivership practice group at McDonald Hopkins in Miami won't go willingly.
"The receiver has failed and refused to comply with his turnover and accounting obligations," Elcom asserted in a motion filed this week. "This has completely stymied the debtors' efforts to begin to discharge their duties as debtors-in-possession."
Perez wants to stay in place to oversee property and service upgrades, he said. One of his achievements was bringing in the high-end hotel operator Benchmark Management Co. to run One Bal Harbour Resort & Spa at 10295 Collins Ave.
Elcom would keep Benchmark Management in place.
Bal Harbour-based Elcom was created in 2008 by Thomas Sullivan and Jorge Arevalo to buy the shared facilities. The partners paid about $14 million for 51 hotel condos, the 10,000-square-foot spa, 8,000-square-foot restaurant and about 4,000 square feet of meeting space.