Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina Doesn't Pay Taxes On Building He Owns

robaina.jpg
Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina owes the county for property taxes.
While Miami-Dade County residents paid higher property taxes last year, Hialeah Mayor and Miami-Dade County mayoral candidate Julio Robaina did not pay property taxes on a shopping center he owns in his city. In fact, it appears Robaina has avoided paying taxes on the building since 2006, when he and a business partner finished it.

Robaina did not respond to a request for comment through his assistant Arnaldo Alonso about the shopping center located at the corner of West 23rd Street and Fourth Court.

According to the Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser's Office online search engine, the parcels are vacant. The information shows a company called Sun Holdings, which lists Robaina as president, purchased both in 2003 for $90,000. A year later, Robaina secured a one million dollar construction loan from Continental National Bank of Miami to build the shopping center. He also took out a $350,000 mortgage.

The county assessed the "land value" at $78,600 in 2009 and $72,050 last year on the first parcel. The second one is valued at $78,000 during the same time period. However, the "building value" for both years is listed at zero dollars because supposedly these are empty lots.

So that means Robaina, a former president of the Northwest Dade Association of Realtors, has only been paying taxes ($1,556 in 2010) on the value of the land, but not on the building that is actually there.

juliofolio2.jpg
How can a shopping center be worth zero dollars?
A drive by the property, the county's satellite imaging system, and Google Maps proves a shopping center with a lushly landscaped parking lot exists. Even Robaina can't dispute it. Sun Holding's office is located at 499 W 23rd Street, adjacent to the shopping center.

Among the former and current tenants included a grocery store (which Robaina evicted this past January) and a medical supply store.

Normally, when a builder completes a project and recieves a certificate of occupancy, the issuing municipality's building department must notify the property appraiser to reassess the value to include the structure, whether it is a house or a shopping plaza. In Robaina's case, that didn't happen.

"We don't have a record that a certificate of occupancy was issued," says Deputy Property Appraiser Lazaro Solis. Although he told Banana Republican it was the property appraiser's office's fault Robaina's building value was not recalculated.

Solis explains that Hialeah notified the county a permit was issued for the two parcels sometime in 2005. He says his office mixed up the folio numbers and the lots in question were classified under another nearby property. That lot, which is also owned by Sun Holdings, remains empty today. "We didn't realize construction occurred on those two lots," Solis says. "We should have known. We take responsibility for that."

Solis claims appraisers finally realized the shopping center was there on June 25 of last year during a "regular sweep" his office does of county properties. "For what it is worth we have started the process of putting the building on the tax roll and reassessing it for prior years," Solis says.

That means Robaina is going to be getting a very large tax bill. However, it is hard to believe that the Hialeah Republican didn't know he was getting a huge break. Like every property owner, he gets a tax bill from the county every year that breaks down the land and the building value. How he missed the big fat ZERO for the past five years on a building he took out $1.35 million in loans on is mind boggling.

As someone who has been a real estate broker for most of his adult life, is himself a builder, runs the second largest city in Miami-Dade, and aspires to be county mayor, Robaina has no excuse.

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22 comments
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Mmvv72
Mmvv72

I saw the letter Robaina sent to The Miami Herald and I quote "

Despiteall efforts to make certain that your journalists and editors have accurateinformation regarding the false allegations that have been launched against meor key facts about me or my candidacy, The Miami Herald disregards thetruth to cast stories with misinformation or erroneous contexts

". We just need a candidate that works with and for the Miami-Dade community!

Break kneecaps much?
Break kneecaps much?

Miami Herald reports Robaina was running a loan sharking business while he was Mayor. Rates of 25% to 45%?

Did he bust any kneecaps?

the fly
the fly

Back in 1997 HUD awarded hialeah (to be used only in Seminola) $1,000.000.00, to built houses for the poor blacks.Mr Robaina orchestrate the purchase of 9 lots totaling 19320 sf for the total mount of $87,300.00, got a mortgage for $696,000.00 making to believe he was going to built, 10 months later he sold it to the Hialeah Housing Authority for $970,300.00, propery located at 23 st w 5 way and 6 ct. He left some change of the million dollars for us. What a coincidence thatall his mortgage transaction were at Vivian Casals Munoz, one of the city commisioners

Jojo
Jojo

just another sunny day for shady people who happen to be community "leaders" -- with leadership like this, it's easy to understand why South Florida leads the nation in fraud on many levels, housing, medical, take your pick. Irony, one of the tenants is a "medical supplies" company...someone should investigate them and see if they're legit.

billieurena
billieurena

Fabulous News!! I just printed Coupons for free. You can print coupons before you shop at "Printapons" search online.

Elreportero37
Elreportero37

Not really a Robaina fan, but what's the real news here? If Robaina had kept Hialeah's building department from notifying the property appraiser about the project's completion to avoid paying taxes, that's one thing. But the article doesn't say that, only "In Robaina's case, that didn't happen." What does that mean? The county property appraiser's office admits it screwed up (which, in typical New Times 'gotcha journalism' fashion, is buried in the story because it's always sexier to portray someone noteworthy negatively and not let facts get in the way of a sexy story). The article gives the impression - not proof - that Robaina did something wrong, maybe even illegal. How many people, especially these days, would run to the property appraiser to say, 'Hey, I think you've made a mistake because you're not taxing me enough.' Somehow, I don't think they'd be lining up outside the PA office. Give me a break, Frank. This would be real news if you had connected all of the dots. And if you did have proof that Robaina improperly or illegally rigged the process in his favor, then shame on you for not reporting it. Journalism 101, dude. I don't expect many of your readers to understand, but as a longtime journo, you should - and do - know better. But hey, it's the New Times way.

Alvarado1
Alvarado1

I have no problem taking criticism from honest transparent people who identify themselves instead of hiding behind an anonymous avatar claiming to be the second coming of Edward R. Murrow. If you were a real journalist in this town, then you would have contacted me directly to comment on my reporting. But the reality is you are a stooge and a political hack lacking the courage to stand up to your words with your real identity.

Francisco Alvarado
Francisco Alvarado

And if you read the story the deputy property appraiser says the city did not send the county notice that a certificate of occupancy was issued like they are supposed to. Thats what we call the smoking gun in journalism 101.

elreportero37
elreportero37

Smoking gun journalism? Seriously? I think the only one doing any smoking is you. 1. How is a city department's failure to do it's job proof or indication that Robaina had any involvement, even if he did benefit from it? (The same could be asked about the county department). That's not a smoking gun that implicates Robaina. It's just simple incompetence by the city and county departments. But again, don't let the facts get in the way. 2. I don't think it's ok for anyone to knowingly avoid paying taxes, but I also don't think it's ok for the public and media to imply wrongdoing by ANYONE without showing concrete evidence of it. 3. Spare you self-righteous, monday morning quarterbacking? Please. It's clear your mainstream, responsible journalism days are far behind you. Glad to see you're right at home peddling shoddy, half-baked, garbage journalism at the only rag in town with standards low enough enough to publish it. None of the other self-respecting local outlets would print this crap, which likely explains why you are where you are.

Elreportero37
Elreportero37

You know nothing. Last thing I would do is work for the guy. Personally, I think Gimenez is the better candidate for county mayor. I, on the other hand, have been in the journo biz a lot longer than you and know a one-sided, incomplete story when I see one. This has nothing to do with supporting Robaina and everything to do with biased reporting based on innuendo, assumptions and suspicions. I know this is hard for someone like you, a reporter at a rag such as yours, to understand, but here it is again - YOU HAVEN'T PROVEN THAT HE HAD ANYTHING DIRECTLY TO DO WITH THE PROPERTY NOT BEING REASSESSED, RESULTING IN LOWER TAXES FOR HIM. Just because the city department reports to him doesn't mean he instructed it to not report completion of the project to the county. Show proof that he did and legitimize your story. You're making an assumption, which you know is a no-no in objective journalism. Right now, the only so-called smoking gun that you have is that a city and county department (the latter of which admitted as much) failed to do their jobs, resulting in a tax boon for Robaina. You obviously can't accept criticism about a major hole in your story. You're a joke, as is your publication, for knowingly ignoring this fact and still running with the story. Lastly, your comments on this message board prove you're biased and will try to justify your positions based on assumptions, including of readers who criticize your work. Go ahead and stand by your story. You don't look too tall doing so.

Alvarado1
Alvarado1

Listen, I know Julio has you working double time to come on here to discredit the facts, but I have no problem standing behind what I wrote. Julio Robaina has no excuse for not paying taxes on his shopping center. 1. The city department reports to him. He is the mayor. The buck stops with him especially since part of his platform is what a wonderful job he has done in Hialeah. When asked why his city didn't issue a certificate of occupancy for his shopping center, Robaina choose to run and hide from my questions, like he has done every time I report on factual, documented questionable actions on his part. 2. Juilio Robaina benefited by not paying taxes on a building that his bank believed was so valuable he got $1.35 million in loans out of it. He would have kept getting away with not paying taxes on the building until by chance the county caught on. So please, if it is "mainstream responsible journalism" that you seek, I suggest you stick with Fox News.

Francisco Alvarado
Francisco Alvarado

Julio Robaina is not just anybody.he is the hialeah mayor who is running for county mayor. So he should himself to a higher standard and admit that he was getting away w not paying his fair share. Obviously you think it is ok for a guy who builds for a living to not notify the county that he is supposed to be paying more taxes. So please spare me your self righteous monday morning quarterbacking.

Bigboy
Bigboy

This guy is scum...

guest
guest

What a scuzz -- he is also under investigation by the Feds for loan sharking, mortgage fraud and tax evasion. Why would anyone vote for this guy?

Geronimo_schmidt
Geronimo_schmidt

Because this is the state that elected a Governor who was the CEO of a company CONVICTED of Medicare fraud.,,,AND THIS WAS NOT A SECRET.Every state, city and country gets the government they deserve

blahblah29
blahblah29

"Normally, when a builder completes a project and recieves a certificate of occupancy, the issuing municipality's building department must notify the property appraiser to reassess the value to include the structure, whether it is a house or a shopping plaza. In Robaina's case, that didn't happen." - Since when did Hialeah become the exception to what normally happens. Now the Prop Appraiser's office doesn't want to make Julito look bad so they are saying it's their fault, no it isn't and it isn't your job to accept responsibility!!!

P_Nis
P_Nis

Frank, that building is not worth $1.35mm. Something's haywire YO!

oracle15
oracle15

What a puke, at least he is honest in one facet. He did not want to raise taxes on the residents or businesses. Well fat boy you were succesful, you did not raise taxes on yourself, nor did you pay YOUR fair share.

Glenn Serrano
Glenn Serrano

Lucy,,,,you have some splaning to do...........

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