Father & Son developers Bruce Chait and Shaw Chait were arrested on racketeering charges involving property they once owned in the City of Tamarac. This same property was at the heart of a 2009 bribery case involving the Chaits and numerous Broward elected officials. In the current case, arrest paperwork shows the Chaits and two other men attempted to get a “pound of flesh” from the current property owner.
According to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) agent, in 2010 the victim attempted to negotiate with Bruce and Shawn Chait about building homes on two Tamarac golf courses owned by the Chaits. While a deal was never reached, the Chaits’ attempts to build homes on the golf courses lead to the arrests of both Chaits, as well as former Tamarac Mayor Beth Talabisco and former Broward School Board Member Stephanie Kraft.
When the Chaits defaulted on the loans for the golf courses, the lender offered the victim the land at a reduced price. Feeling cheated, the Chaits engaged in eleven years of threats and phony lawsuits against the victim. They promised to ruin the victim’s reputation unless monies were paid to Bruce Chait.
The Chaits orchestrated lawsuits by associates which claimed the properties owned by the victim were a “toxic landfill.”
In January 2021, the victim met with Shawn Chait. The meeting was witnessed by private investigators hired by the victim. Chait stated the lawsuits would go away if the victim paid $3 million dollars to Bruce Chait. He said Bruce Chait “felt he was owed” the money. Shawn Chait mentioned the victim would not want any “bad publicity while trying to get a new project approved” by City of Tamarac officials.
On February 4, 2021, the victim met with Bruce Chait. The meeting was recorded by the FDLE. Chait said the way the victim acquired the property, “left the worst in my mouth in my whole 72 years.” Chait told him that a $3.4 million dollar payment would “make it right.”
On February 15, 2021, Shawn Chait requested a follow up meeting with the victim. Again, the meeting was recorded by the FDLE. Shawn Chait told the victim he knew of his attempts to get approval from Tamarac officials for a new development on the property. Chait stated his father would help obtain the necessary votes from the Tamarac City Commission if the victim agreed to pay Bruce Chait $2,000 for every home built on the property.
At a FDLE recorded meeting on March 1, 2021, the victim was told the Chaits would orchestrate a class action lawsuit against his new development. Victim was told the lawsuit would destroy his chances of getting the $25 million dollar project approved by the City of Tamarac.
During a March 3, 2021 meeting, the victim was told Bruce Chait contacted the Mayor of Tamarac as well as the City Manager. Chait informed them the “contaminated” land in question would likely be the subject of a lengthy legal battle.
Tamarac Mayor Michelle Gomez contacted the lawyers for the victim. She admitted that even if the Chaits’ information was false, it would harm the victim’s chances to get any project approved by the City.
Bruce and Shawn Chait are currently being held at the Broward Main Jail. Their bail is set at $10.5 million dollars, each.