Billionaire Dart reinvented as Cayman Land Baron
Twenty years later Ken Dart renounced his U.S. citizenship and took his tax lawyer with him to the Caribbean, the billionaire bond investor and native kingpin is reinventing himself because the Cayman Islands’ largest actual property proprietor.
In a uncommon glimpse of Dart’s holdings, Mark VanDevelde, CEO of the Cayman tycoon The holding firm Dart Enterprises, not too long ago advised Bloomberg that Dart was much less occupied with Struggling exterior debt as of late, more and more specializing in luxurious actual property improvement within the Cayman Islands and elsewhere, notably in Latin America.
Distressed debt “is barely a small a part of our total portfolio,” VanDevelde stated. “We had a requirement for workplace tenants, in order that’s the place the expansion has been from conception. We are actually specializing in resorts and residences. “
Dart’s transfer within the mid-Nineties to the Caribbean, away from the family-owned Michigan styrofoam cup enterprise, has been broadly criticized as a brazen tax dodge. Immediately, he’s usually seen strolling across the grounds of his upscale Camana Bay which features a residential improvement, marina and downtown space with workplaces that cater largely to hedge funds and companies. different monetary corporations. A five-star 4 Seasons lodge could quickly full the event, all linked by a community of cycle paths.
Friends of the Camana Bay lodge dine in an outside patio overlooking a tennis courtroom with a helipad throughout the harbor the place Richard Branson not too long ago performed Anna Kournikova. Paul Allen crosses native waters every so often in his 414 foot yacht, full with helicopter and submarine.
Seen from the ocean, Dart’s holdings are spectacular. A brief boat journey from a reasonably little harbor and previous a sandy level standard with snorkelers revealed a pristine seashore sandwiched between a forest and shoals – all properties of Dart. The boat slid down a pristine brick walkway in downtown Camana connecting the open-air restaurant seats to a fountain flanked by completely aligned palm bushes. However you’d by no means know all of it belonged to Dart. There’s solely a small, unassuming signal on the entrance to one of many improvement’s workplace buildings with Dart’s identify on it. No Trump-style trumpet right here.
Camana is the crown jewel of the Dart Lands, which now make up over 8% of this white-beach-fringed scuba diving paradise for the wealthy and well-known. It has additionally seized land for improvement within the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas in addition to in not less than 10 international locations all over the world. The corporate takes the difficulty to level out that with large developments of luxurious resorts, Dart is setting apart land for conservation.
“He owns land all around the world, a whole lot of hundreds of acres, in Patagonia, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Mexico, Jamaica, Canada, and most of that land is present in distant and pristine areas, ”stated VanDevelde, a compatriot from Michigander. “The websites lend themselves to conservation efforts as a result of they’re remoted in nature.”
In his position as a developer and generator of jobs within the Cayman Islands, Dart is rising as one thing of a number one member of the native the Aristocracy. A giant purpose for its notoriety: Dart initiatives had been used to counter the financial difficulties attributable to the monetary crises of 2008. On the time, the belongings underneath administration of some 10,000 hedge funds registered on the island plummeted. by half to $ 3.4 trillion, in line with Anthony Travers, chairman of the Cayman Islands Inventory Alternate. In 2009, the native financial system contracted by 7%.
Along with its actual property enterprise, Dart has additionally boosted the native financial system by having its international headquarters within the improvement of its lodge advanced and workplaces. From his workplaces within the Cayman Islands, he manages a fortune of $ 5 billion, in line with the The Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which incorporates roughly $ 700 million in not less than 10 biotech corporations, in addition to billions in earnings from many years of investments within the troubled debt of Brazil, Greece and Argentina. Exelixis Inc., primarily based in south San Francisco, and Alnylam Prescription drugs Inc., primarily based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, are among the many biotech shares he has counted amongst his holdings.
Certainly one of three sons of the late Mason, Michigan founder Dart Container Corp., Ken resigned as chairman of the slicing firm final yr and is now not a shareholder, Tony Wilbert stated, spokesperson for Dart Enterprises.
Its technique of investing in international locations on the verge of default has sparked resentment all over the world. Argentine President Cristina Kirchner, together with the tax authorities attacked the native unit of Dart Container, calling it a “vulture” investor for attempting to coerce Argentina to repay its distressed debt at full market worth.
Through the years, Cayman’s governors have welcomed Dart’s deep pockets. Most not too long ago, he demolished an deserted Courtyard Marriott to make means for his 263-room, 62-apartment Kimpton lodge. Along with actual property, Dart has additionally invested on the islands in retail, finance, development providers and expertise.
“We have had seven lean years and with out Dart the native financial system would have appeared so much worse,” Travers stated. “However there’s a large query mark over the tip of Dart’s involvement within the Cayman Islands. He begins to manage a considerable a part of the native financial system. “
In its largest outlet so far, Dart struck a $ 400 million take care of the federal government in 2010. Amongst different issues, it supplied the permits Dart wanted to construct a brand new waste remedy facility, broaden a freeway and redevelop the deserted Marriott web site. As a part of the deal, Dart agreed to construct a abilities coaching heart and supply $ 16 million for presidency social applications.
The plan, nevertheless, raised the ire of some islanders, who objected that it had been applied with out the correct authorities approvals and that it got here with “sweeping” tax and customs concessions, in line with a report launched in Canada. June by the federal government’s Auditor Normal.
Dart’s relationship with the island authorities additionally reveals how tax havens, meant to draw rich traders, can find yourself disadvantaging native governments: When a authorities is weakened by its lack of a tax base, it does not have a lot. of bargaining energy with tycoons whose cash they labored so exhausting to make.
“We’ve got on this nation an entity of seemingly limitless wealth often known as the Dart Group, which over the previous 10 years has accrued giant quantities of actual property and has grown by leaps and bounds,” stated Lawmaker Osbourne Bodden in a March 2012 editorial posted on native information web site Cayman iNews. His Progressive Folks’s Motion grew to become the ruling celebration within the 2013 election after opposing Dart’s take care of the federal government. “The grasp plan is certainly to make these islands Dart Islands – make no mistake about it.”
Spitting did not sluggish Dart’s growth. He’s within the strategy of negotiating an identical take care of the present authorities.
“Should you’re value billions and have limitless money, issues are going,” Travers stated. “It is a relentless improvement.”
(An earlier model of this story corrected the reference to 4 Seasons within the fourth paragraph and the outline of the tax and customs advantages within the auditor’s report within the sixteenth paragraph.)
(Corrects VanDevelde’s remark within the third paragraph of the article printed on November 8.)