By The Sunny Isles Beach Reporter – Sharon Elster, Editor
The November 6, 2018 election in Sunny Isles Beach is unique in that there will be only one active race in our City – Commission Seat 2 – which is Winston Towers, the largest voting bloc in Sunny Isles Beach.
We have three candidates running for Seat 2 in Winston Towers. We reached out by email to all the candidates requesting they provide us with basic information that would assist us in presenting their qualifications to voters. We received no response whatsoever from two of the candidates – David Yaacov Grossman and Felix Kizhner. We did receive a very forthright and comprehensive response from Alex Lama, so we will begin with Mr. Lama.
ALEX LAMA is 47 years old and has lived in Sunny Isles Beach since 1988. He and his wife Rocio Sylvia Lama have two children, son Nicolas and daughter Bianca. Mr. Lama is a true Sunny Isles Beach local. He is a graduate of North Miami Beach H.S., his mother, aunts and cousins live here as well, and his children are third generation Sunny Isles Beach residents. Mr. Lama has been witness to thirty years of positive growth and change in our City.
Mr. Lama received his B.S. in Communications [Major: Advertising, Minor: Marketing] from Florida International University in 1995 where he was President of the Advertising Federation [1994-95]. Mr. Lama is currently head of advertising sales at Media Brokers Group. He has worked for Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. and previously worked for nearly two decades in advertising and marketing for Spanish-English language television and the digital media industry, focusing on international corporate accounts. Mr. Lama has worked for Disney-ESPN, Telefonica, Universal Studios and Viacom.
Mr. Lama is a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee of Sunny Isles Beach since April 2018. He was approved and appointed by the City Commission to offer input on issues affecting the community. Since 2014 he has been a member of the PTSA of the Norman S. Edelcup/Sunny Isles Beach K-8 School.
He also serves as Treasurer of the Winston Towers 300 Board of Directors since 2016, and with the Board, Mr. Lama is part of the clean-up crew tasked with correctly finishing the balcony and pool projects which were badly mismanaged by previous Boards in the past. Under their new leadership the building now has healthy finances.
Mr. Lama has taken well thought out positions to remedy crucial City issues such as traffic, vehicular and pedestrian safety. Mr. Lama supports the Adaptive Traffic System – a computerized system which adjusts in real time based on flow of traffic. He backs putting together a team that will work with FDOT, bring in experts in traffic mitigation and safety to come up with the best, most sustainable solutions. He strongly supports responsible and balanced development and zoning on the west side, which prevents building more than 14 stories and the City’s buying of land on the west side to mitigate more development. On the issue of beach erosion, he advocates working with the Army Corps of Engineers who are experts in developing a solution that will prevent our sand from traveling east and enact other remedies to help the situation.
School overcrowding due to approximately 400 students that have been fraudulently registered is another priority. Mr. Lama wants to work on a verification system with the Miami-Dade school district to resolve this. When our community center is completed, Mr. Lama wants to ensure that suitable programs are created for our “beloved” seniors [who Mr. Lama calls the pioneers of this City], children and adults to meet and socialize as neighbors. And, Mr. Lama wants to protect the Home Rule Act so our City keeps its right for self-determination and be able to fix local issues ourselves without depending on state legislation.
DAVID YAACOV GROSSMAN is a 39 year old resident of Winston Towers 400. He is divorced and has two children. We are not aware of any participation by Mr. Grossman in the community affairs of our City and he did not respond to our request for background information.
According to the most recent information he provided on LinkedIn as of Sept. 25, 2018, Mr. Grossman is a 2002 graduate of Queens College in New York where he received his B.A. Degree – Major: Economics, Minor: Business. Mr. Grossman’s work experience: from 2007-2013 he was owner/manager of several companies each lasting only a few years. Concurrent with these listings he put Self-Employed from Feb. 2007-Aug. 2013. Mr. Grossman lists the services these companies provided: marketing, sales, consulting, real estate projects and investments, credit score services, online business opportunities and other services.
Mr. Grossman filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2011. The filing shows he owned an interest in a loan/check cashing company, Mag Daddy, Inc. in Flushing, N.Y. that went out of business. He also owned an interest in a telemarketing company Teletransfer in Flushing, N.Y. which later filed for bankruptcy.
Mr. Grossman is currently a lease broker for Evolution Leasing LLC. This company was incorporated in 2014 and lists its principal place of business as 231 174th St, Apt. L15, Sunny Isles Beach, which is located in Winston Towers 400. This is David Grossman’s legal residence according to voter records. The CEO of Evolution Leasing is Michael Grossman, 231 174th St, Apt. 1616, Sunny Isles Beach.
However Mr. Grossman’s LinkedIn page states that he is Vice President of Grossman & Stein, Inc. from April 2013 to present and there is no mention of Evolution Leasing. Mr. Grossman should update his employment information since the firm of Grossman & Stein has had “inactive” status since Sept. 26, 2014. Please read the following carefully:
“FROM THE FLORIDA OFFICE OF FINANCIAL REGULATION: Regulatory Sanctions – Twelve Year Bar and $32,000 Fine Against Unregistered Association Person for Fraud On June 10, 2015, the Division of Securities entered a final order against David Yaacov Grossman and Grossman & Stein, barring Mr. Grossman for 12 years from affiliating or seeking future registration as a dealer, investment advisor, or associated person under the Florida Securities and Investor Protection Act, Chapter 517, F.S. David Yaacov Grossman and the firm were found to have offered and sold unregistered securities and engaged in securities business in Florida without being registered. In addition, Mr. Grossman was found to have obtained money by means of fraud. A $32,000 administrative fine was assessed against David Yaacov Grossman.”
A credible source who attended a Meet the Candidates Luncheon held Sept. 13th at Duffy’s Restaurant stated that Mr. Grossman seemed angry, evasive and defensive when questioned about the regulatory sanctions of 12 year bar and $32,000 fine he received from the Florida Office of Financial Regulation.
Mr. Grossman approached a table of five women and one man and began to speak in a very aggressive and unpleasant manner. They were not responsive and he went away. However, moments later he returned and continued his verbal rant which they found so disturbing it caused them to get up from their seats and leave the restaurant.
FELIX KIZHNER is a 50 year old resident of Sunny Isles Beach and he is single. Mr. Kizhner has served as Secretary of the Winston Towers 100 Board of Directors since 2017. Mr. Kizhner did not respond to our request for background information. According to the information he provided on LinkedIn as of Sept. 25, 2018, Mr. Kizhner is a 1991 graduate of Rutgers University where he received his B.S. Degree in Marketing.
LinkedIn has Mr. Kizhner’s work experience as follows: Regional Sales Manager at Merck & Co. from 1991-1996; Director of Pharmaceutical Division at Bristol-Myers Squibb from 1996-1999; and Deputy General Manager at Yukos from 2002-2007. A google search revealed that Yukos was a Russian oil company plagued for many years with investigations into various corruption charges and eventually went bankrupt in 2007.
There are two very noticeable gaps in Mr. Kizhner’s employment record – the first is after he left Bristol-Myers in 1999, no employment was listed until 2002. A second gap appears after he left Yukos in 2007 he does not show any employment until 2013 when he lists “Financial Analyst, Self-Employed, April, 2013 to April 2013 – 1 month.”
Then from 2013 up to the present, Mr. Kizhner is CEO/Owner of DJ Felix Inc. He has at least two Facebook pages – an election page and a page called Felix Kizhnerdj featuring his work as a DJ. Both pages have photos and videos of Mr. Kizhner. Google search results of “Felix Kizhner DJ” show Mr. Kizhner as a DJ and with Karaoke Nights at Lique Lounge in North Miami. We also found videos on YouTube of Mr. Kizhner doing DJ gigs at Lique and other venues. On the website, Wedj.com, Mr. Kizhner’s services are available for parties and private events specializing in Russian Club and dance music. In 2016, LinkedIn shows that Mr. Kizhner added he is also a Life Coach and a member of International Coach Foundation.
The Sunny Isles Beach Reporter has been independently covering local elections since 2010 [check our archives]. Our goal has always been to inform voters about the candidates to help them make the best choice for our City.
We are proud to support and highly recommend Alex Lama for Winston Towers Commissioner – Seat 2. Mr. Lama has a firm grasp on the challenges we face. We are convinced Mr. Lama’s positive approach and steady thoughtful demeanor, combined with his solid professional background and his many years of experience strategically working together as a team to resolve issues will greatly benefit our City.