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Is The Team Of Farkas-Kerzner About To Rescue The Bahamas?

ON Thursday, Prime Minister Perry Christie started tongues wagging in Nassau as to the identity of the major international investors interested in the restructuring of the seemingly jinxed $3.5 billion Baha Mar resort.

“There are lots of people who want to help us fix it, who have expressed open interest in that property,” he said as he boasted that “we’re going to come out big and strong as a result of this whole exercise”.

He said “there are people who are major investors today in The Bahamas, with huge global reach, there are investors from outside of The Bahamas who are interested. And I presume by now the bank knows who they are ... I have had it confirmed by some of them, they’ve had discussions with the bank, and there are people, some of whom are so well known to the Bahamas in the resort context that people will be pleased as those names surface and to know that if those people are interested in being able to take that over, then it’s going to be taken over by a world brand kind of investor.”

In April, 2014, when he sold his family’s interest in Kerzner International Holdings to Dubia’s Investment Corporation, Sir Sol Kerzner declared that although it was the end of one chapter, the world had not heard the last of him.

“I’m a little older now,” he had said at the time, “and you can’t think one would achieve what I’ve done over the last 50 years, but I’m not ready to retire.”

We understand that he is very interested in facing the Baha Mar challenge. At his side is his long-time friend and adviser, Mr Andrew Farkas, chairman of Island Capital Group LLC, whose New York firm holds interest in about $150 billion worth of commercial mortgages. Mr Farkas is New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s former boss.

It was hoped that Baha Mar could be in business by the fourth quarter of next year. However, it is understood that much work still has to be done.

Last Friday, the Supreme Court granted China’s Export Import Bank’s request to place the resort into receivership. The move essentially sidelined developer Sarkis Izmirlian by removing him as owner of the project he had created and in which he had invested $850m.

We think that EXIM Bank in this business-changing exercise has learned much about how business is done in the West. When one considers that although to have functional literacy in written Chinese, one requires a knowledge of four thousand characters, yet with all those characters, it is understood that they have no word for “foreclosure”. After this learning curve, they will now have to find more characters to include the word to “foreclose”.

Although, if the news of the return of Sol Kerzner is correct, Bahamians — particularly those who have been made redundant — will be pleased. However, the general public — particularly Bahamian contractors — would be even more delighted if China Construction American (CCA) could be removed from the project and replaced by Bahamians. After all, CCA has already created enough problems for themselves at The Pointe to keep them fully occupied. Bahamian sub-contractors, who according to reports, have done a first class job at Baha Mar are owed at least $75m by the resort. (See Mr Richard Coulson’s article on page 10).

However, Bahamians are particularly upset that after so many years of struggle — mostly under the Christie government — to get his dream from drawing board to completion and opening, Mr Izmirlian has been completely sidelined. He had tremendous loyalty among his staff for whom he provided special training and created special projects. It is understood that certain members of government read sinister meanings into his Baha Mar “Nation”, which showed the ignorance of his detractors. Apparently some of them read into it that Mr Izmilrian was creating a “Nation” as distinct – and possibly opposed to the Bahamas “nation”. Having rival teams is common practice in high schools and universities to create competition and encourage team players to try to achieve their best. Such competition injects pride in a team and makes them keen to do their best and be the best.

Mr Izmirlian wanted his team to feel special. He encouraged them to reach for the stars and not to settle for the tree tops.

From what we have heard of their progress, Baha Mar’s little “Nation” would have been the best of the best in The Bahamas’ resort industry.

It is a shame that such stupid ignorance — particularly among our leaders — is holding this little nation called “The Bahamas” back.

With such myopic leaders, The Bahamas is its own worst enemy with a very bleak future unless there is change.

Comments

asiseeit 5 years, 5 months ago

If anyone can remember it was the PLP in the 90's who said that when they regained government they would run Sol Kerzner out of the Bahamas. Oh how the mighty have fallen, suckers!

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Reality_Check 5 years, 5 months ago

Re-post: The Izmirlian family recognized the dire need for Baha Mar to obtain Delaware Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection against the wrongful liquidity squeeze play that the Chinese state-controlled general contractor (China Construction Co.) and lender (China Export-Import Bank) had subjected it to with the help of the Christie-led PLP government. Now the vultures (provisional liquidators and their lawyers and accountants, receiver and his lawyers and accountants, the growing multitude of financial and engineering consultants and their lawyers and accountants, etc. etc.) have all landed on the dead carcass of Baha Mar to devour what they can, creating for the project a liquidity crisis more than 100 times greater than the one Baha Mar originally had at the end of June 2015 when Sarkis filed for Chapter 11 in the U.S. It is now the Chinese government who is having to pay all the bills submitted by the very costly vultures and one has to wonder how long the Chinese government will continue doing so before they realize it may be better to cut their losses. But Red China has to weigh everything against all the benefits it has received and continues to receive from the following: (1) the Chinese labour it has and continues to employ on projects in the Bahamas; (2) the Izmirlian familiy's US$900+ million equity stake in the project handed over to it by the Christie-led PLP government; (3) the geo-political stronghold gained in the Western Hemisphere right under and next to the U.S.A.; (4) the strategic spy post it will have (to be known as The Pointe) immediately across the street from the U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas; (5) the access for its latest class of nuclear powered submarines to the Tongue of the Ocean deep water trench; and so on, and so on. I just can't wait until Americans find out from Donald Trump, Ted Cruze or Rubio in the crucial run-up period to the next presidential election what Red China has been doing right on Uncle Sam's door step (right under his nose) with the help of the Christie-led PLP government elected by the Bahamian people! If Bahamians think its hard for them to get a U.S. travel or student visa now....you just wait!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 5 years, 5 months ago

Nothing but smoke and mirrors on the part of big names like Kerzner being paid to make it look like the Chinese will not be in the picture as the true owners of Baha Mar after the Izmirlian family's US$900+ million equity stake in the project was wrongfully snatched by the Christie-led PLP government in a devious corrupt nationalization scheme and then given to the Chinese government. Just ask someone like Peter Reisman at the Island Capital Group LLC. Here's how they describe these types of fronting arrangements for their clients like the Chinese government on their website:

"C-III Asset Management LLC, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of C-III Capital Partners LLC, provides special and primary loan servicing for third party portfolio owners, CMBS trusts, CDOs, government agencies including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration, and parent company managed funds and principal positions. In addition to special and primary servicing, C-III Asset Management is an established Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDO) Manager and Collateral Administrator.

C-III Asset Management is the named Special Servicer on over $127 billion in commercial real estate loans within 90 CMBS trusts and the primary servicer for a portfolio of approximately $20 billion in performing loans."

In this particular case, the government agency that is the client is the China Export Import Bank. The Chinese government have merely engaged the Island Capital Group as a Special Servicer to create from an appearance standpoint some distance between themselves and their deceitfully and corruptly acquired majority ownership of the Baha Mar properties. Baha Mar has become one of several investment projects around the world effectively stolen by the Chinese government from private sector investors like the Izmirlian family who are foolish enough to get ensnared in the web of deceit and corruption that the Chinese government builds with other corrupt governments around the world like the Christie-led PLP government. Yep, all nothing but smoke & mirrors to keep the wool pulled down tightly over the eyes of the Bahamian people!

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