St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Letter to the editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message

Judge: Repay deposit on 2 Trump units

But the developer still hopes to fight the suit and salvage the Tampa condominium project.

By SCOTT BARANCIK, Times Staff Writer
Published September 28, 2007


A local investment group that put a $566,000 deposit on two Trump Tower Tampa condos but tired of waiting for the troubled project to be built may be getting its money back.

Adaja Properties LLC, which reserved Trump Tower units 4001 and 2304 in August 2005, filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against Tampa developer SimDag/RoBEL LLC in July. SimDag failed to respond, however, so last month, Hillsborough Circuit Court Judge Frank Gomez ordered it to repay Adaja's $566,000 deposit, plus $22,000 in interest and legal fees.

"The contract called for completion within a certain period of time," Tampa lawyer Thomas Long said in an interview Thursday. "We don't believe that's been met."

But the fight may not be over just yet. Kathy Rentas, a Fort Lauderdale lawyer who represents SimDag and CEO Frank Dagostino, said Thursday that she will ask Gomez to vacate the judgment and, if successful, will then fight the suit. Rentas declined to say why SimDag missed the filing deadline.

The $588,000 award comes at a time when SimDag and project namesake Donald Trump are observing a brief cease-fire in a separate but related federal lawsuit filed in May.

In the suit, Trump accused SimDag of owing him more than $1-million under their licensing agreement and demanded that the company take his name off the Trump Tower project. SimDag countersued this month; the following day, both parties agreed to observe a 45-day cooling-off period while SimDag attempted to obtain alternative financing.

Lawyer Rentas declined to comment Thursday on the status of her client's funding hunt. But a note Dagostino posted Sept. 14 at said he expected some "potential lenders" to deliver a commitment letter soon concerning the 190-unit project. He also asked for the condo buyers' patience.

"We do realize that we have gone beyond the expected due diligence period," he wrote. "But there is simply too much at stake for everyone involved with this project, and the city of Tampa as a whole, to terminate this project prematurely."

Scott Barancik can be reached at or (727) 893-8751.

[Last modified September 27, 2007, 22:58:29]

Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters