(Trinidad Guardian) – CL Financial chairman Lawrence Duprey went on a shopping spree in south Florida in the last five years, buying or developing up to a dozen properties and spending an estimated US$1.5 billion—some of which would have come from local pensioners who were lured by promises of high returns from his insurance companies.
The jewel in Duprey’s Florida crown is a company called DYL Development Group which in 2005 announced more than US$1 billion in new development in South Florida.
Among the projects undertaken by the DYL group are:
• a 56-storey condominium project called Infinity at Brickell which has 459 residences and is located on Brickell Street, one of the most expensive streets in Miami;
• a 69-storey office office/condominium complex with 556 residences called Infinity II also on Brickell Street;
* twin, 23-storey towers comprising 346 hotel rooms and 171 condominium residences for the W hotel in Fort Lauderdale; and
• a 50-unit luxury high-rise oceanfront condominium complex in Fort Lauderdale where the price of the units ranged from US$900,000 to more than US$2 million.
Among the other properties snapped up by Duprey are 121,533 square feet of motel buildings in Fort Lauderdale. This property was bought by a company, Capri Resorts LLC for US$35 million in 2004. The property was sold by a company called Sable Resorts which was related to the buyer, according to reports seen by the Guardian.
The investment appeared in the CL Financial annual report in 2004 as an associated company with CL Financial holding a 26.88 per cent interest. The investment does not appear in the CL Financial annual reports after 2005 and there is no mention of it being sold.
Through a company called Dalco Properties, Duprey purchased a 1.98-acre parcel of land in Broward County in 2008 at US$92.87 per square foot. Duprey and Winston Fifi were the officers of the company in 2000, while Duprey, his wife Sylvia Baldini and Andrew Gross were listed as the officers of the company in 2008.
Also in 2008, the CL Financial group spent US$300 million buying 6,000 acres of land that is described as “rural” in Osceola County in Florida. Duprey is the chairman of the DYL group, whose Web site describes the British American Insurance Company as its “capital partner.” The founding member and principal of DYL is Geoffrey Leid, who was listed as the corporate secretary of Clico in the CL Financial-owned insurance company’s 2007 annual report.
In 2004, another Duprey company called Colonial Development received a loan of US$45.6 million from Chicago-based Corus Bank for the Europa By-The-Sea project. In 2006, the same bank lent an affiliate of DYL Development Group US$140.3 million to finance the construction of Infinity at Brickell. DYL took out a mortgage for US$12 million on the Infinity at Brickell property in 2005.