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Miami Mayor To Co-Lead Private Equity Firm's Acquisition Initiatives

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has joined DaGrosa Capital Partners, a Miami-based private equity firm, as senior operating partner, the firm announced in a statement Monday.

Suarez will co-lead DCP’s acquisition initiatives and grow the firm’s domestic and international investment platform, the announcement said.

The company invests in real estate, sports and entertainment, retail, food and beverage, insurance, hospitality, healthcare and aviation, according to DaGrosa Capital Partners' website. It is currently invested in numerous ventures, including telemedicine provider Hoy Health and Quinn Residences, a build-to-rent housing company that is active in four states, including Florida.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez with City Commissioners Ken Russell and Manolo Reyes, opening the Skyview Miami Ferris wheel with Ashkenazy Acquisitions Corp. in October 2020.

Suarez, a real estate attorney, is the son of Xavier Suarez, who served as Miami mayor in the 1980s and '90s. The younger Suarez became a city commissioner in 2009 and was elected mayor in 2017. In July 2020, Suarez was elected by other American mayors to serve as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a role he will assume in the 2022-2023 term.

Suarez has been making headlines the past year, as Miami has experienced an influx of tech companies and wealthy residents. He has advocated for the city to accept cryptocurrency as payment and is reportedly in talks with Elon Musk's Boring Company to build a $30M tunnel in a traffic-congested part of the city. He is widely expected to seek higher office in the coming years.

According to his LinkedIn page, Joseph DaGrosa Jr., founder and chairman of DCP, "is best known for his restructuring transaction with Heartland Food Corp., the acquisition vehicle formed to acquire 248 Burger King franchises out of bankruptcy, where he and his partners led the successful turnaround of Heartland Food Corp. through bankruptcy and ultimate sale to GSO Capital (now part of Blackstone)."

DaGrosa is chairman of Kapital Football Group, which acquires soccer teams and training academies around the world, and of GACP Sports LLC, which acquired the world’s largest organizer of soccer business conferences and invests in French professional football. He is also vice chairman for Jet Support Services Inc.

In May, Suarez was hired at Miami law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. Suarez in the past has been criticized for not disclosing his clients, though he has said that would be a violation of attorney-client privilege, and for not fully disclosing his finances. Suarez is running for re-election this November. 

Miami-Dade County has guidelines for county and municipal employees regarding outside employment. Given the wide range of DCP's investments and the wide range of matters that come before Suarez as mayor, ethics specialist Jan Jacobowitz, a lecturer at the University of Miami School of Law, said, "There's tremendous potential for a conflict of interest," but "it's not by definition a problem in and of itself. ... There's always that gray zone in politics."

"My role is to help them build their portfolio of companies in their verticals, which does not conflict with my public role because they do no business with the city, nor will they," Suarez told Bisnow.

A spokesperson for DCP said that DaGrosa's past and current investments are listed on the company website, and deals that are in talks but have not yet closed will become public once the transactions are completed.

"The firm has protocols in place to protect the confidentiality of active deals as is market practice with most investments and assessment protocols in place to ensure there are no conflicts with Mayor Suarez," Lucia Gonzalez said.

“I am thrilled about the opportunity to join an extraordinary firm and build on DCP’s strong momentum in identifying sound investment opportunities," Suarez said in Monday's announcement. "Joe and the team at DCP share my vision of establishing Miami as an epicenter for global capital. I could not be more excited about this role and building and strengthening the firm’s capabilities.” 

“We are very pleased to welcome Mayor Suarez to DaGrosa Capital Partners," DaGrosa Jr. said in Monday's announcement. "Under Mayor Suarez’s leadership, Miami has become a magnet for businesses, technology entrepreneurs and investment talent. His insight and deep understanding of dynamic business, demographic, and political trends will be invaluable as we continue to build our platform of attractive global investments. We welcome Mayor Suarez to our growing team of first-class investment professionals at DCP.”