A caged tiger, pandemic parties and angry neighbors – Miami waterfront mansions racked up over $ 500,000 in illegal short-term rental fines – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

(WSVN) – The pandemic parties at a South Florida mansion are breaking out, literally, and the neighbors are fed up. Here is Karen Hensel with the 7 surveys tonight.

The video of this Bengal tiger in the backyard of a waterfront mansion certainly caught our attention.

Rita Lagacé, neighbor: “We are just absolutely shocked. “

The big cat was pacing in a cage, while the party was getting ready.

Rita Lagace: “The sign was lit to say it was like a casino: ‘Welcome to Las Vegas, Nevada.’ “

But what was happening in Vegas was actually happening in Miami.

It was early August in the isolated neighborhood of Belle Meade Island.

Joe Shearin, neighbor: “We haven’t moved to the hotel strip. It was a residential neighborhood, and it’s still zoned as such, and we don’t want to see it turn into Vegas or hotels.

Neighbors have been complaining about partying during the pandemic here for over a year.

Neighbor (in June 2020): “It’s like having a nightclub. They advertise the house as a party house.

As we first reported last June, the mansion was listed on Airbnb for $ 3,500 a night and touted as a “great party space.”

Miami Police have been called in on several occasions to deal with loud music and traffic complaints.

Neighbor (in June 2020): “Are the police going to keep coming every time there is loud music? That does not make any sense. Something needs to be done by the city.

The city of Miami has taken legal action to try to stop the illegal short-term rentals.

In this July 2020 settlement, the owner agreed to follow the law and not to advertise or promote the home as a vacation rental, but more than a year later neighbors say the parties are continuing.

Rita Lagacé: “There were so many people. It was unbelievable. I say over 400 people because if there were about 200 cars that entered, they only count as a driver. “

7 Investigations have learned that the LLC that owns the house on Belle Meade Island and the mansion next door is controlled by John Petrozza.

Petrozza is said to have made millions as one of the owners of a large red light camera company operating across the country.

Both properties have racked up $ 520,500 in fines for illegal short-term rentals. The cases are being appealed.

Rita Lagacé: “Nobody wants to live like this. It’s crazy.”

Meanwhile, the two homes are currently on sale together for $ 19.5 million.

Karen Hensel: “So if this property sells, what would your message be to your new neighbors?

Rita Lagacé: “It’s a residential area.

As for the Bengal tiger at the party a few weeks ago, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said it was a duly authorized exhibit and no violations were found.

Rita Lagace: “Why would you have a tiger like that in 90 degrees?”

Last year, Airbnb told us that they had permanently removed one of the mansions from the website under their “party house policy.” It’s unclear if the last party was related to another short-term rental, but the city tells us it is investigating the event.

Petrozza did not respond to our calls for comment.

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