Broward News

Lake Worth's Gulfstream Hotel: Bahraini Petrodollars, the Black Gatsby, and Foreclosure

The fate of the Gulfstream Hotel, the faded crown jewel of Lake Worth's historic downtown, appears at first glance to rest in the hands of the Schlesinger family of Palm Beach and Connecticut. The hoteliers/developers bought the property in 2005 but have fallen on hard times. The hotel is in foreclosure, likewise the family's luxurious Omphoy, on Palm Beach, and Traymore, on South Beach. The Gulfstream's plight is a problem for Lake Worth, whose residents have long dreamed fondly of the day when the hotel, shuttered some years, would reopen and greet fresh streams of visitors to regenerate the town's economy.

But the path to rebirth may prove murkier than a simple restructuring of the Schlesingers' assets. Their mortgage note is held -- Fire Ant has learned -- by an imploding Wall Street hedge fund with roots in the financial black hole of the Cayman Islands. The fund's identity and that of its CEO -- a controversial and combative Wall Street figure -- lies hidden in a maze of property records, court documents, newspaper archives, and regulatory filings.