|By Douglas Hanks, The Miami
HeraldMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
May 7, 2010 --Guy Mitchell, the wealthy real estate developer who favored beach shirts and shorts and poured millions into the Royal Palm hotel before losing it to bankruptcy, has been indicted in Atlanta on federal bank fraud charges.
Mitchell, who owned a mansion in Coral Gables, was always something of an enigma in South Florida after swooping in to become the low-profile money man behind the Royal Palm acquisition at the height of the condo-hotel boom. He backed Robert Falor, the prolific condo-hotel converter who ran into his own legal hurdles as his empire imploded in the real estate crash.
The federal charges against Mitchell stem from his central role in Atlanta's Integrity Bank, where he was the top customer. Prosecutors charged Mitchell with using bank proceeds to fund a lavish lifestyle instead of investing in the projects the loans backed. Among Mitchell's alleged splurges: a $1.5 million private island in the Bahamas.
Integrity failed in 2008 and was seized by regulators. Lenders took over the Royal Palm on the heels of a defaulted mortgage.
Falor and Mitchell bought more than 90 percent of the Royal Palm from R. Donahue Peebles, who retained a minority share in the 2004 deal and briefly battled the two and lenders for control of the South Beach hotel.
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