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Getting Ahead of the Job Con in Downtown Miami

Getting Ahead of the Job Con in Downtown Miami

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Published by davidwalters
Jihad Doujeiji strikes again! This site is protected by the Spirit of Sharron Lewis, his beloved wife, who died in March 2011.
Jihad Doujeiji strikes again! This site is protected by the Spirit of Sharron Lewis, his beloved wife, who died in March 2011.

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Published by: davidwalters on Aug 04, 2012
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12/07/2014

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MIAMI MIRROR – TRUE REFLECTIONS 
 
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The 2.4 acres next to the Doujeiji property marked off for proposed $20 million high rise development
GETTING AHEAD OF THE JOB CON IN DOWNTOWN MIAMIBy David Arthur WaltersUnlicensed general contractor Jihad Doujeiji dba Sharron Lewis Design Central had gotten aheadof every luxury condominium job we had investigated thus far on South Beach. He got awaywith not pulling a permit at all at Icon 1801. At Continuum 2602, he had a licensed contractorpull a flooring permit, then his crew went in, laid down the floor and did a thorough non-permitted renovation of the apartment. Most amazing of all, his trusty permit fixer, “TrustyRusty,” got him a license number to piggyback on at Sunset Harbour TS3, and then had a permitpulled to demolish an imaginary kitchen and bathroom in a completely empty space, where Mr.Doujeiji’s crews did nearly a half-million dollars of work before we convinced the BuildingDepartment to conduct an investigation and issue a stop work order. Mr. Doujeiji, when exposed,claimed that he was only doing what everybody does, getting ahead of the job, therefore wedubbed our investigative series the ‘Getting Ahead of The Job Con.’ Go in small and come outbig, catch me if you can, the penalty is just a traffic ticket.How did he get away with it? The owners like the work he does, but is he a genius? Ourinvestigation of the processes at the scandal-rocked Building Department of the City of MiamiBeach revealed that there exists a virtual honor system for permitting luxury condominium build-outs and renovations. Apparently enforcement during the building boom was far beyond the
 
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ability and competence of city officials. Untold millions in dollars in permit fees were probablybeing evaded with an unknown increase in safety hazards. But never mind, for the public feels nopain for what it does not yet know. City officials were mute to many of our questions andsuggestions, although they appear to be exercising what they call due process behind the scenes.We took our investigation of the exemplary South Beach contractor to the City of Miami, wherewe discovered from public records that Mr. Doujeiji and his brothers own several apartmentbuildings that provide them with a considerable currency flow despite numerous evictions due tothe nature of tenancy in the respective locations. The crown jewel is their lovely four-storyapartment and office building at 1601 NE 2
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Avenue, sitting on the advantageous corner of anotherwise vacant block of real estate near fine hotels, and poised for high rise residential andcommercial development as the northeastern edge of the downtown area advances along thegentrification path to and thru the art district. The Miami-Dade County Appraiser put the taxablevalue of the property, purchased in 2002 from Miami Milano Corporation for $1.7 million, atnearly $2.5 million in 2011. ZJ Audy Investments LLC, holding the property for brothers Jihad,Imad, and Zeyad, has mortgaged it to the BPD Bank of New York, the stated value of themortgage being $3.4 million as of 4 November 2011. We estimated its market value to be around$5 million given grand development schemes for the neighborhood including a potential highrise development around the building.However, Henry R. Block, Vice President of Jack Thomas Inc., a realtor who was involved inthe potential $20 million sale of the 2.4 acre property around the Doujeiji building, suggested ourassessment was too enthusiastic. "The property,” he said, “has a very small footprint, isoverpriced and is encumbered with a historical designation. There could be a list made of outparcels to big developments in Miami that held out in anticipation of price appreciation thatwound up built around. We'll see."A developer and real estate broker who left the Miami area during the boom, and who asked notto be named due to ongoing controversies, said that “small footprint” means that “you have a40,000 sq. ft. building on about 11,000 sq. ft. of land. As for the notion that the property’sposition would have no bearing on value—don’t bet on it! This is why Carnap is not in the realestate speculation business.”A search of the public records revealed that Mr. Doujeiji had filed an owner’s Notice of Commencement for construction at 1601 NE 2
nd
Avenue, listing his late wife, Sharron Lewis, ascontractor. Her general contractor license was no longer valid after her death in March 2011. Mr.Doujeiji continued to use her license although no notice of death was given to the Florida Boardof Contractors as required by law so that he might legally complete the work permitted under herlicense. According to the county’s website, all permits issued for the renovation of the historicbuilding are expired, the latest expiration dates being in October 2011. Occupants of theapartment building, which houses Mr. Doujeiji’s Sharron Lewis Design Central showroom, saidthere had been continuous renovations ongoing in the building even after March 2011, usually atnight and on weekends. Tenants complained about the noise, and at least one longtime tenant tothe north of the internal courtyard had moved out due to the din. The apartments, we learned,were being completely made over, including installation of new windows at an estimated cost of about $25,000 each unit. Furthermore, Sharron Lewis’ showroom on the first floor had been
 
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radically expanded after her death, to include the adjacent rental space. That necessitated thedemolition of walls, and a kitchen area used by the company’s employees.Jihad Doujeiji, in part inspired by his appreciation of appreciating real estate values and risingcash flow, and wanting to build a suitable memorial to his beloved wife, has obviously done agreat job renovating the building inside and out.

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