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Palm Beach County Developer Arrested For Using Liens To Retaliate Against Ex-Girlfriend

A 73-year-old Palm Beach County developer with ties to President Donald Trump has been hit with criminal charges after being accused of filing false liens against an ex-girlfriend as retaliation for a breakup. 

Palm Beach County Developer Arrested For Using Liens To Retaliate Against Ex-Girlfriend
Polo is a popular sport in Wellington, Fla.

Glenn Straub has alternately been described as litigious and fascinating. Though he is fabulously wealthy, he has admitted to being "stingy," and will fly Spirit Airlines just to get the best deal. A local politician in Florida once called him “one of our difficult-to-keep-in-the-line local billionaires.”

Now, he could be facing a sentence of up to 15 years. The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office charged Straub last week with one count of grand theft larceny of less than $100K and two counts of filing fraudulent liens, the Palm Beach Post reports

Straub was born in West Virginia, inherited a transportation company from his father, and made his own fortune in mining and construction materials. He moved to South Florida in the 1980s. In 1993, he bought the 2,250-acre Palm Beach Polo Golf and Country Club in Wellington — which had earlier hosted celebrities like Sylvester Stallone and Prince Charles on its 11 polo fields, but had fallen into disrepair — for $27.1M.

He sold off 600 acres at a profit, reportedly let the polo operations languish, and focused on revenue from residential homes. A competing facility, International Polo Club Palm Beach, became the new center of equestrian life in South Florida. 

Straub also purchased Tesoro, a luxury golf community in Port St. Lucie, at a foreclosure auction. In 2010, he faced criminal allegations that he destroyed wetlands there, but was cleared of wrongdoing.

In recent years, Straub hoped to develop some 150 acres of his Wellington property known as Polo West, but was unable to obtain approvals, so allowed it to fall into disrepair, aggravating neighbors. He sold it for $16M in November.

In 2015, Straub bought the closed, 6M SF Revel casino in Atlantic City out of bankruptcy for $82M. It had once been worth $2.4B. Despite promises, he never reopened it or its 1,500 hotel rooms, and sold it for $200M in 2018. It is now called Ocean Resort Casino.

Straub has been accused of dating women, doing work on their homes as a gift, or giving them clothes and jewelry, then suing them after they rebuff his romantic advances.

In 2016, according to the Palm Beach Post, Straub dated a woman named Jessica Nicodemo, now 35. She claims they went on trips together and ate at Mar-A-Lago with Trump at least twice. That year, Palm Beach Polo performed $77K of construction and yardwork at two homes Nicodemo owned. She contends the work was a gift and she was not billed for it. Soon afterward, she broke up with Straub.

According to text messages submitted in court, Straub warned Nicodemo: "The first day you don't check in is the first day I put a leon (lien) on your house. Then try to sell it."

In 2017, Straub's company filed a civil lawsuit against her and put liens on her property, alleging that work on her homes was not paid for. In 2018, she filed a counterclaim alleging Straub had filed false liens as retaliation for the breakup. She also said he had physically threatened her. 

Straub claimed he had been taken advantage of.

"This is an old man being semi-hustled by a much younger girl," he said in a deposition.

But after the sheriff's office investigated Straub and arranged controlled phone calls with him, they filed the three criminal charges that carry a combined maximum of 15 years' sentence.

Straub has also sued at least four other women over jewelry and clothes, items the women understood to be gifts as he tried to woo them, the Associated Press reported last year. In another instance, Straub alternately partnered with and loaned money to another Palm Beach developer and his wife, then tangled with them in court — all while carrying on a flirtatious relationship with the wife, including salacious text messages, jewelry and Broadway tickets.