Defending Ginn

        Toby Tobin, our favorite Florida real estate blogger, picked up our story about the suspension of spending on many of the uncompleted amenities at The Cliffs Communities.  In the article, we contrasted the attitudes of Cliffs property owners toward their developer, Jim Anthony, with those of owners in golf communities formerly developed by Bobby Ginn.  One of Toby's readers took issue with our characterization of the differences.  Below is the reader's email and Toby's emphatic (we think brilliant) rejoinder.


From: XXXX

Sent: Thursday, December 30, 2010

To: 'Toby Tobin'


        Your comment regarding Ginn in the Cliffs article is way off, Toby:  “Cliffs’ Jim Anthony is no Bobby Ginn; Cliffs properties may have lost some significant value in the last three years, but their owners still speak of Anthony in reverential terms (the opposite of how Ginn owners feel about their bankrupt developer).  They want Anthony’s vision to triumph as much as they want their investments to hold.”

        The reference to Ginn owners feeling differently about “bankrupt developer” is simply not true.  Those with negative comments are the minority and NOT the majority at all…Although the minority can be vocal at times and appear much larger.  Your article needs corrected/clarified (sic). You have NO basis for that comment other than those who got caught with their pants down and are bitter.  Further Ginn owners do of course want to see Bobby’s vision carried out, why would they (sic)….just like at Cliffs.


Toby Tobin’s response:


Dear XXXX,


Though the article to which you refer appeared on, I was not the author. Having said that, I support his portrayal of Bobby and Jim Anthony.  No correction is necessary.


I have said many times that Hammock Beach is the most viable of all Bobby’s developments.  Owners there have much to be pleased about, except the NOPC (Notice of Potential Change), that is. (When Bobby sold Hammock Beach and Ocean Hammock properties, did his vision include a beachside hotel?)


On the other hand, property owners from the Gardens, Yacht Harbor Village, Conservatory, Bella Collina, Reunion, BriarRose, Burke Mt., Quail West, Tesoro, Cobblestone Park, Ginn sur Mer, and the residents of Minturn CO do not speak about Bobby in favorable terms. I know because I have talked to hundreds of them. They weren’t caught with their pants down. Their pockets were artfully fleeced.


On the other hand, property owners at The Cliffs Communities are generally pleased with the job Jim Anthony is doing; enough to loan him a lot of money. I can’t imagine Bobby being able to raise $60,000,000 from his property owners.  Moreover, The Cliffs Communities are not subject to a flood of lawsuits by their property owners.  Nor are they burdened with debt.


Did Bobby’s vision include taking credit for building the FL Turnpike interchange at Tesoro, then sticking the property owners with the bill?

Did Bobby’s vision include keeping the millions of dollars of membership deposits rather than depositing them in the promised escrow accounts until the amenity facilities were completed?

Did Bobby’s vision include mortgaging four of his projects to a $675 million loan, then keeping $330 million from the loan proceeds for himself and Lubert-Adler?

Did Bobby’s vision include shifting the ownership of land to be used for the Tesoro Beach Club and the third golf course outside the Tesoro entity shortly before closing on the Credit Suisse loan?

Did Bobby’s vision include not paying millions of dollars of Reunion CDD assessments, leaving the CDD in a very serious financial condition?

Did Bobby’s vision include a beach house at Quail West, a beach house and third golf course at Tesoro, a sports complex and equestrian center and docks at Bella Collina, two golf courses at Ginn sur Mer, a clubhouse at Cobblestone Park, a golf course and shooting facility at BriarRose, a golf course at Laurelmor?

Did Bobby’s vision include a misleading video portrayal of the source of funds for the Ginn sur Mer escrow account?

Was it ethical for Bobby and Lubert-Adler to flip lots owned beneficially by them for huge profits when the profits rightfully belong to the Lubert-Adler investors?


Are you suggesting that these problems were brought on by “those who got caught with their pants down and are bitter?”


“The visionary lies to himself, the liar only to others.” -- Friedrich Nietzsche


I hope you and your family have a very Happy New Year.




Don "Toby" Tobin

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