Every fraternity brags about that one rich alumnus who caters to their every whim and loves to blow money on them. For most houses, this ends at having a good tailgating spot or getting a couple of top shelf bottles at a formal. But some chapters are blessed with a rich benefactor whose generosity and loose checkbook makes splurges of luxury possible that they would never be able to accomplish otherwise.
University of Miami Pi Kappa Phi seems to have exactly that kind of support in the form of the wealthy and powerful Del Ray family of south Florida. While it’s not clear that the Del Rays are even affiliated with the fraternity, the family has pulled out all the stops to construct an “illegal ring of frat houses” — 8+ bedroom party mansions spread out through the quiet residential streets of Miami.
From Miami New Times:
Despite repeated calls to police and code enforcement, the kids have gotten away with it because a powerful Miami family, the Del Reys, owns the home. Attorneys say the clan actually runs a string of at least four similar homes for hard-partying UM kids throughout the residential neighborhood.
The Del Rey family — led by brothers Julio and Jorge — are infamous in Miami-Dade real-estate circles. They gained much of their fortune by running Executive Fantasy Hotels, a string of sex-themed motels in Miami and Puerto Rico. Their best-known property, near Miami International Airport, offers dimly lit rooms where partners can make love in a variety of settings, including a Middle Eastern-style getaway and a room filled with fake trees.
I love that these guys got their money from a string of sex motels called “Executive Fantasy Hotels.” Anything with “Executive” in the title is always the exact opposite of what it sounds like. Even better, if I had to choose any rich dudes to build me a live-out party house, I don’t think you could do much better than guys who are infamous for designing literal themed sex mansions.
It also helps that their sister is a freaking judge.
The family is deeply connected to Miami-area politics: Another member of the Del Rey clan, Marcia, was elected to a Miami-Dade judgeship in 2016. Previously reported financial disclosures show Marcia owns her own adult-themed Shangri-la, the Executive Tropic Garden Hotel in Little Havana.
When you’re constantly dealing with law enforcement, having a judge to look out for you is an ace in the hole. This is probably why even after repeated code violations, nobody’s gotten shut down yet.
The family seems to be stepping up for their renters too: At one recent home football game, several rented school buses appeared to ferry people from the game to one of the Del Rays’ rental properties, specifically the one rented to Pi Kappa Phi members, apparently. The house was “overflowing with drunk kids walking around with red cups.” When some of the neighbors came over to complain, students threatened them not to interfere, warning that the property owners were “well connected in the community” — which is excellent, because the only thing more frat than making vague threats to townies is actually having the power to back them up.
The family seems to be expanding their operation, adding/building more properties to rent out as party houses to Miami college kids. There are plans to build an 8 bedroom, 11 bathroom (that’s the right ratio for that) in the same neighborhood as the Pi Kapps’ house. This all seems pretty sudden, as Google Maps searches of the properties show that none of these houses had even been constructed yet as recently as 2014.
I’m still not sure what the Del Ray connection to student housing is. It may well be just another real estate play for them. Seeing as the family’s hotel business has also been alleged to be involved in such seedy and unsavory things as human trafficking and the sex trafficking of children, anybody who rents from the Del Rays may want to watch their backs. It is Miami, after all.
We need some more information to determine if this is a solid arrangement, but from the photos I’ve seen of the place, it does look like they’re throwing some real ragers there. And anyone that’s smart enough to put 11 bathrooms in an 8 bedroom house must at least somewhat understand what kind of stuff is actually going on there..
[via Miami New Times]
Image via Ashley Satanosky, Unsplash.com