|Banah International Group|
|Alexander Perez, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, and County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa celebrate Banah's street renaming.|
MORE TROUBLES FOR PEREZ
On July 13, the day Hialeah and county leaders celebrated the christening of "Banah Sweet Way," Perez's headquarters played a big role in solidifying Gimenez's reelection. According to El Nuevo Herald, Banah's executive offices was the site where Hernandez let the county mayor know the Hialeah political machine was behind him.
"It was a positive dialogue," Hernandez told the newspaper. "We talked about working together for our communities and I gave him my word that I would support him."
Later that afternoon, during a press conference inside Banah's HQ, Perez thanked the elected
officials for recognizing his fledgling company. "We
want Banah to be the Coca-Cola of sugar," Perez boasted in Spanish.
"Our headquarters will always be
in Hialeah. I assure you, Banah's success is guaranteed."
Perez was initially planning to develop Banah at 405,000-square-foot warehouse in Doral located near Miami International Airport and inside a free trade zone. He signed a lease with CV Miami in August 2011, agreeing to pay $6,666 a month in rent. According to Ferro, the Hialeah location, which is 100,00 square feet smaller, was more suitable for the company's planned growth and wanted to create jobs in a city where it is desperately needed.
However, CV Miami sued Perez on May 29, claiming he bailed on his Doral lease. CV Miami
alleges Banah owed $139,000 in unpaid rent plus late fees for
February, March and April of this year. Both companies recently
settled out of court.
But Banah is still dealing with four
pending lawsuits that were filed after the company got its street
renaming and tax breaks, including Gonzalez's complaint.
- All-American Containers, a Miami
company that supplied Banah with plastic containers and tops for its
sugar products, sued Perez and his firm on June 6, alleging the coke
felon owes $183,478 for unpaid merchandise.
- In July, New York-based Sterling
National Bank sued Perez and Banah because the financial institution
claims it provided funding capital for payroll that he hasn't paid
back. The bank's pending lawsuit alleges Perez owes $327,623.
- In August, a company called Pro Label Inc. sued Banah International Group. However, employees at the Miami-Dade County Clerk of the Courts file room could not locate the case file when I requested it on Oct. 10. This lawsuit is also pending.
Ferro declined comment on the ongoing litigation. Meanwhile, Gimenez's spokeswoman says the lawsuits won't
change anything. "The issue is moot," Trutie says, "since the
incentives were already approved."
Unless the county commission moves to reconsider its vote, which has happened before when the Beacon Council recommended incentives for a company tied to an individual with a criminal record. In February, county commissioners rescinded a $3 million grant given to the family of shopping center developer Yoram Izhak.
The funds were supposed to help pay for the renovation of Northside Shopping Center at NW 79th Street and 27th Avenue. But commissioners were unaware Izhak had been convicted for tax evasion and attempting to board an airplane with a loaded gun until Banana Republican reported about it. Commissioner Dennis Moss convinced his colleagues to pull their support for the Northside funds.See also:- Miami-Dade Nixes $3 Million Grant To Tax Evader After New Times Report