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CRESPOGRAM REPORT

APRIL 29, 2013

WAS IT AN ART EXHIBIT, OR SOMETHING MORE?  GARY NADER DAZZLES THE RUBES AT CITY HALL INTO GIVING HIM A FREEBIE
PART I

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I took my first photos of the Miami Police cars in the parking lot of Gary Nader’s Art Gallery on December 19th.  By then, I had been told, the cars with on-duty officers had already been there a month, give or take a couple days.


On April 10th, Police Chief Manny Orosa, in a memo written to the City Manager, with copies to the Mayor and City Commission, attempted to justify the use of scarce police resources to provide on-duty police protection for Nader’s gallery and in the process managed to demonstrate that next to the Mayor, he’s high on the list of moron’s in Regaladoland  that can’t be trusted to tell the truth, even about simple things. 

When the Chief of Police begins a self-serving memo with a misstatement of fact, then you know that the rest of the memo is going to be doozy.


Just in the above paragraph there are three more misstatements of fact that we’ll get to eventually, but it turns out that the story about on-duty police being used to provide security for Mr. Nader’s Art Gallery, or as he now refers to it “Gary Nader’s Art Centre,” is but part of a larger and more revealing story about art, commerce and because it’s Miami, how nobody ever bothers to look behind the curtain.


YOU’VE COME A LONG WAY, BABY


From all accounts, Gary Nader comes from a wealthy Dominican family who started out with an art gallery in Santo Domingo in 1981, moved to Miami in 1986, and became a recognized expert of Latin American art by the 1990’s.


Along the way Nader took on the exalted self-importance of being a big fish in a little pond.


Nader isn’t just an art dealer, and his gallery isn’t just an art gallery, it’s “the largest and most important fine art gallery in South Florida, and the biggest gallery in the world...”


The exhibition at the center of the controversy over the use of on-duty Miami police officers wasn’t just an art show, it was a “$700 million dollar show,” and it was “the first time that a museum show of this unparalleled magnitude would be present in an art gallery.”


The superlatives weren’t just limited to establishing the value of the art he exhibited. When it came to describing himself, there were few boundaries to the inflated sense of importance and grandiose acts of civic kindness that Nader didn’t feel compelled to share with the citizens of Miami as a way to show them how much he cared for them.


On December 5th, as part of a story on the upcoming Art Basel events, Fox New Latino included this description of the Berardo show from Nader:


            “It’s the largest in the world.  It will be like a

            museum,” says Nader. “I’ve already received

            over 500 requests for the VIP party. This

            exhibition is my gift to Miami.”


That Gary Nader, such a guy. A gift to Miami indeed.


SO WHO IS THIS JOSE BERARDO GUY, AND WHY WOULD HE SHIP $700 MILLION WORTH OF ART OVER TO MIAMI SO THAT GARY NADER COULD BESTOW A GIFT TO THE PEOPLES OF MIAMI


Jose Berardo is a guy with an Horatio Algers life story who in 2009 was listed as the 701st richest man in the world on the Forbes list of World Billionaires.


He’s no longer listed on the Forbes list, and chances are that he’s no longer a billionaire, which raises a question as to how much he’s actually worth today and whether he might be in billionaire terms, less than flush.


The reason that Berardo is no longer a billionaire is that he actually did an amazing thing for a rich guy. He walked into the office of the Attorney General of Portugal and blew the whistle on the bankers who were running the bank where he had invested a large chunk of his fortune. 


The story is, as I say, pretty amazing, and as an article in Bloomberg News stated, he suffered a $730 million dollar loss for his efforts.  You got to admire a guy who loses $730 MILLION bucks for standing up and blowing the whistle on his bankers.


Loosing close to three quarters of a billion dollars does fuel speculation as to why a significant part of his collection showed up in the art gallery of a guy in Miami in time for the 2012 Art Basel Show, and also about the fluctuation in the value placed on the collection.


At the January 24th City Commission meeting, when Chief Orosa was first questioned about the use of on-duty police to guard Nader’s gallery, he stated that the collection was worth $700 million.

By April 10th, in a memo that he wrote the City Manager and copied the Mayor and the City Commission, and that I included a small portion of at the top of this story, Orosa had downgraded that amount to $500 million.


Unlike a million here and a million there, when someone starts jiggering numbers by the hundreds of millions of dollars, you can bet that it isn’t being done haphazardly or by mistake, especially when a major art website identified Nader’s gallery as the basis for the original $700 million appraisal, and subsequent stories based on press releases from Nader’s gallery went along with the downgraded $500 million amount.


TOO BAD GARY NADER DIDN’T CHARGE ADMISSION, HE’D HAVE BECOME EVEN RICHER IF HIS NUMBERS HAD BEEN ACCURATE


So first we have Miami’s Chief of Police not remembering when he authorized his officers to start guarding Nader’s gallery, and then we have a $200 million difference over the supposed value of the art in this exhibition.


What else could be screwy with this deal?


Well, it seems that Nader for all his worldly experience isn’t all that good a judge of character. Perhaps you’ll recall that comment he made in the January 29th, Miami Herald story - where he said”


            “It was a gentlemen’s agreement,” said Nader. 

            “This exhibit would not be here without the help

            of the mayor and the police chief.  They under-

            stand the importance of art for a city.”


To have a gentlemen’s agreement you need to have gentlemen involved, and, while I can’t speak to Nader’s gentlemanly qualities, my personal observations long ago convinced me that neither Regalado or Orosa fit that bill.  Regalado’s an idiot, and Orosa should have spent some time in prison for his involvement in the murder of Leonardo Mercardo.


In fact, if you take Orosa out of his uniform he dresses like a hillbilly who doesn’t have an iron. Click HERE, to see how he showed up to the ceremony at Nader’s gallery where Regalado gave a Key To The City to Jose Berardo. 


Also, while I don’t know about the Chief appreciation of art, the Mayor’s appreciation of the importance of art can best be gauged by his embrace and support of advertising murals being hung on buildings all over the city, including beer ads on the city’s administrative building.


So not only was this not a “gentlemen’s agreement,” but hanging out with Regalado and Orosa for any length of time can be dangerous to both your IQ and your math skills.


Take for instance the press release Nader sent out touting the success of the exhibition. He started by proclaiming that, “More than 120,000 people attended the show.”

Obviously, Nader must have gotten tips on calculating attendance from the same wizards in the City of Miami tasked with keeping track of the budget, because 120,000 represents a lot of people finding their way to 62 NE 27th Street, where even a couple hundred folks with cars would create a sizable traffic jam.


In fact, if you calculate that the exhibit was open a total of 132 days - that’s 7 days a week, including holidays, from December 5th thru April 15th - the gallery would have had to have averaged 909 visitors each and every day.


I can tell you from my personal experience of driving by sometimes 2 or 3 times a day in my travels around Wynwood  and downtown that on at least 30 of those days, no where near that number of folks showed up anywhere near that gallery, or that neighborhood.


However, since my observations would be considered biased and subjective, thanks to Gary Nader self-promotional press activity, there’s a better way to get an estimate whether 120,000 actually showed up.


On February 4th, Nader’s gallery sent out a press release claiming that the show was being extended because, “due to its strong attendance, more than 35 thousand visitors since the opening on December 4th, 2012.”  The press release was posted on a local art blog onFebruary 5th.

If 35,000 folks passed through the doors of Nader’s gallery between December 4th and February 4th, that still left the magic number of 85,000 additional folks having to show up between February 5th and April 15th. That’s 69 days, and in order to reach 120,000 you’d need an average of 1231 art lovers showing up day after day, after day.


Call me cynical, but I don’t think 1231 folks showed up in a month, much less daily.


This exhibition process was clearly front loaded so as to attract folks who showed up for Art Basel, where the count through the doors of the Miami Beach Convention Center was 50,000.


120,000 is a lot of people to show up for anything that isn’t either music or sports related in Miami, most especially anything happening on a side street in Wynwood.


WHEN THINGS LOOK BAD ALWAYS CLAIM YOU’RE DOING IT FOR THE KIDDIES


From the Chief’s January 24th appearance before the City Commission to Nader’s self-congratulatory press release announcing the 120,000 attendees, to the legal opinion issued on April 23rd by the Miami City Attorney’s office, a constant claim made by all of these documents and others was that an important benefit of this exhibition was that it was there for the benefit of school kids.


On January 24th, Chief Manny Orosa told the City Commission, “He’s got school kids going on field trips over there.”


Always ready to put on knee pads to do a favor for anyone on the Regaladoland Family and Friends list, Raquel Regalado, who started turning political tricks for Papa, Angel Zayon and everyone else as soon as she became a School Board member was also happy to jump on the Gary Nader loves the school kiddies band wagon.


In February she used her position as a School Board member to help burnish Nader’s public persona as a civic minded fellow by introducing a Resolution to commemorate him for his fine work in providing the kiddies an “opportunity to stimulate and develop their imagination and critical-thinking as well as cognitive and creative skills.”

In addition to the fact that much of the boilerplate rhetoric in the Resolution was lifted whole from Nader’s numerous self-aggrandizing press releases, the impression of this commendation was that multitudes of little Miami-Dade school children were dutifully visiting Nader’s gallery looking at all the world-class art.


This, like the claims of the 120,000 visitors turned out to be bullshit!


Contrary to the Chief’s claim about school kids and “field trips,” the fact of the matter is that out of the approximately 345,000 kids in Miami-Dade public schools El Nuevo Herald reported that only about 100 - yes, that’s right, about 100 - school kids from Miami-Dade public schools showed up to view this exhibition during the 5 months it was there.

Now, I’m not sure how schools handle field trips today, but it does seem shameful that Raquel Regalado could hustle up a Resolution for Nader and not school buses for kids to actually go and see the art.


SO WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?


The first and most important fact that we’ve learned is that none of the numbers seems to add up.  Was the art on Nader’s walls worth $700 million or $500 million? 


Even for rich people, a couple hundred million dollars is real money, and since these two amounts seem to have both originated from Gary Nader at different times, what does that mean?


The Wikipedia page on the Bernardo Museum in Lisbon, claims that the auction house Christie’s put the value of the Berardo Museum’s entire 1000 piece collection at 316 million Euros, or $410.8 million on last  Friday’s exchange rate. 


Values and exchange rates change, but if the whole 1000 piece collection is worth less than $500 million, then how could 110 pieces have been worth $700 million?


A more important question is just how many of the 110 pieces of this exhibition were from Berardo’s Museum collection, and how many of them were from his private collection?


Dario Economico, a Lisbon newspaper reported on April 18th that a portion of the art work exhibited in Miami was from Berardo’s private collection, and according to another source in Lisbon, Berardo in a part of this story not included in the on-line version stated that he was unhappy with the 10 year deal he had struck with the government, and that in 2016 he could terminate the deal and take his art work with him.


Whether it was 90 or 92 pieces that came from the Berardo Museum, it was enough to force the closing of a wing of the museum which also seems to have upset more than a few folks in Portugal, and raised questions over there as to why the art had been shipped to Miami to be shown in a private art gallery, and not a museum.


As always, when the narrative starts to unravel and the numbers don’t add up, then every thing starts looking suspicious. 


Shipping over 110 pieces of art for a supposed exhibition and just in time for it to be seen by all the big time art buys and collectors who came to town for Art Basel last December is the kind of thing one might expect a used-to-be-a-billionaire might do if he was looking to unload a couple valuable pieces of art without attracting a lot of notice, especially when you factor in the Jorge Perez connection. 


The Jorge Perez/Miami Art Museum, currently under construction in Bicentennial Park is in dire need of world class art work to become part of its permanent collection.


It’s no coincidence that Nader and Jorge Perez just happen to be pals, and that the personal collection that Perez donated to this new museum as part of the deal to get his name over the door is now being panned as being less then world class.


Perez is definitely a guy with the money and a need to purchase at least a couple world class pieces of art, and who better to put together a deal between a billionaire in need of art and a used-to-be billionaire in need of money than everybody’s pal, Gary Nader?


In fact the Jorge Perez connection is so obvious that 2 blogs (HERE and HERE) in Lisbon also pointed to this connection as the possible reason for why Berardo decided this was a good time to ship this art work to Miami. 


Nader’s an art dealer. He sells art. As he told the Miami Herald in January, “by the time the exhibit is over, he will have spent about $2 million for shipping, insurance and private security guards inside the gallery...”


Does anybody really think that Gary Nader would spend as much as $2 million dollars without expecting some return on that money? 


This is the same Gary Nader that I wrote about in December of 2010, who tried to get the OMNI CRA to give him a chintzy $25,000 to print a catalogue for his first Sculpture Bi-Annual where he plopped a bunch of statutes along Biscayne Boulevard - none of which were inside the OMNI CRA boundaries.


Of course, in the world of high-finance art deals, it would make sense not to come out and trumpet that some of the art work in the exhibition might be for sale, because that not only would be tacky, but it would also affect the prices.


So, I think it’s safe to assume that there was a lot more to this art exhibition than meets the eye, and therefore, the question of why Miami Police Chief Manny Orosa decided to assign on-duty cops to provide protection for this exhibit also warrants a closer look.


Anyone who could spend $2 million dollars to finance this exhibition could also also have afford to pay for off-duty cops to guard it, and not put that burden on the taxpayers who, if the real attendance figures ever were uncovered appear to have  pretty much been under whelmed by the whole deal.

In fact, of all the times that I drove past the gallery, only once did I actually see a school bus.  It so surprised me, that I took a photo just to have a record.

To make it even worse, the only reason that 100 public school kids showed up seems to be that Nader went out and rented the buses himself.


This fact only became known because some of the little elementary school kiddies were obviously “encouraged” to thank him for doing so, and Nader couldn’t resist including some of those thank you notes as part of the final press release on the success of the exhibition.

END OF CHAPTER I


GENTLEMEN’S AGREEMENT

A CRESPO-GRAM EXCLUSIVE
COPYRIGHT 2013(C)
NO PORTION OF THIS STORY CAN BE REPRINTED AND CITED BY OTHER NEWS ORGANIZATIONS ONLY WITH ATTRIBUTION TO 
THE CRESPO-GRAM REPORT
A GENTLEMEN’S AGREEMENT

GARY NADAR REVISITED

Given the nasty fight that’s broken out between local art dealer Gary Nadar and big-time developer Jorge Perez over Nadar’s original unsolicited proposal to build an art museum and a bunch of condos on property owned by the Miami-Dade Community College on Biscayne Boulevard, across the street from the Freedom Tower, I figured this was a good time to revisit a previous deal that Nadar was part of that involved public money. This should not be considered in any way an endorsement of Jorge Perez, because he too is a snake.  I’ve just written about Nadar on several occasions, while unfortunately I’ve not written about Perez.