From LIV to Udonis Haslem’s charity: Here’s where crypto giant FTX may owe money in Miami
Collapsed crypto giant FTX may owe money all over South Florida, according to new federal bankruptcy court records.
The company’s potential creditors include the prosaic — local law firms and financial institutions — the flashy — trendy spots like South Beach restaurant Carbone and LIV nightclub — and the philanthropic — charities belonging to Miami Heat star Udonis Haslem and Baptist Health South Florida, the court documents show.
All told, FTX listed more than 170 entities with Florida addresses as potential creditors, and thousands more around the country and world. No amounts are listed.
Sam Bankman-Fried, the crypto exchange’s former CEO who now faces criminal charges, has spoken glowingly about Miami. He previously said that he planned to move FTX’s U.S. headquarters from Chicago to the Magic City. During the pandemic, he attended a cryptocurrency conference in Wynwood and partied at LIV.
“The world made a choice for us: a choice to grind to a halt. In most places, it’s still mostly halted,” he said at the time on Twitter. “But Miami is alive.”
Bankman-Fried also spoke with Miami Mayor Francis Suarez at a virtual panel on crypto. Among U.S. politicians, Suarez is perhaps the most outspoken booster of cryptocurrency. He has called Miami a “crypto capital.”
In a court document filed Thursday, FTX said appearing on the list does not necessarily mean that a business or charity is owed money and that the list was meant to alert “stakeholders and potential stakeholders” in the firm’s bankruptcy. The list of creditors was “intended to be very broad for service purposes and includes parties who may appear in the Debtors books and records for any number of reasons,” the document states.
Being on the list also does not mean an entity had an FTX account. It may have provided services to the firm and not yet been paid, or been promised a charitable donation. The list was prepared by Alvarez & Marsal North America, a court-approved financial firm advising FTX.
David Grutman, the owner of LIV, expressed surprise that his Miami Beach club was on the list. He said he doesn’t believe FTX owes LIV any money. Andrew Goldstein, a South Florida photographer included as a creditor, also said the crypto firm does not owe him money. He said he photographed a charity event for FTX at a Hard Rock Cafe.
A spokesman for the law firms Weiss Serota and Holland & Knight, listed as creditors, declined to comment on the firms’ relationships with FTX. Another big-name creditor, Florida International University, did not respond to requests for comment.
One of the other creditors listed is a luxe office tower in Brickell where Bloomberg reported that FTX planned to move.
As part of FTX’s push into Miami — and a campaign for global brand recognition — the firm bought the naming rights to the Heat arena, which is owned by Miami-Dade County.
The county is listed as one of FTX’s creditors, too. Earlier this month, a federal judge agreed to terminate a $135 million sponsorship deal between the county, the Heat and FTX for the basketball arena.
Eddie Gonzalez, an attorney for Miami-Dade, said the county has not yet filed a claim in FTX’s bankruptcy case. Gonzalez said the county believes FTX owes it around $17 million for defaulting on the naming-rights deal.
New York and California are the only states where FTX has more creditors listed than it does in Florida.
The crypto firm — which is believed to have more than a million creditors in total, according to CNN — filed for bankruptcy in Delaware in November. It was valued at $32 billion before collapsing. Federal prosecutors in New York have since charged Bankman-Fried with fraud, money laundering, and campaign finance crimes related to what they called the “phenomenal downfall” of his company. They allege he caused billions of dollars in losses to customers, lenders, and investors.
“This was not a case of mismanagement or poor oversight, but of intentional fraud, plain and simple,” said U.S. Attorney Damien Williams of the Southern District of New York.
Bankman-Fried is also said to have burnished his image with charitable giving.
In April, the Udonis Haslem Foundation announced that it was partnering with FTX to provide $100,000 worth of grants to minority-owned small companies in Miami.
Representatives for Haslem’s foundation did not reply to a request for comment.
Neither did many of the businesses the Miami Herald contacted for interviews, which include a Lincoln Road juice shop and a downtown clothing store that says it offers “elevated essentials for the music-inspired individual.”