Monday, February 16, 2009

Millions vanish with developer Anthony Defeo

Investors sue, feds get involved as St. Clair County casino plan tanks

BY CHRISTY ARBOSCELLO • FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER - February 9, 2009

Anthony Defeo was a charismatic businessman and a developer with a vision, offering investors an opportunity for the chance of a lifetime
But that dream deal quickly soured for financers who say the $600-million project presented by the entrepreneur proved too good to be true.
Defeo, who claimed riches from other financial undertakings, convinced them he had the inside track on a casino project with the federal government and an American Indian tribe. The project, he boasted, had received the personal stamp of approval from none other than then-President George W. Bush.

He showed them paperwork, eased their fears with thorough answers and gingerly maintained relationships -- until he got at least $2 million from investors, according to more than 20 lawsuits in Macomb County Circuit Court.

Now, with his plans for the development of a casino and entertainment hub in St. Clair County at a standstill, investors don't know where Defeo -- or their money -- has gone.

And they're not the only ones interested in tracking down the 57-year-old New York native whose last known address was in Bloomfield Hills. Federal authorities also are trying to find him, the Free Press has learned.

"I think Mr. Defeo is very elusive. ... I can't substantiate unofficial reports that he's in different states throughout the country," said Warren-based lawyer Anthony Penna, who represents Defeo's landlord, Grillo Properties of Chesterfield Township.

The company said Defeo owes more than $500,000 in unpaid rent and improvements made to an office he leased on Dalcoma Drive in Clinton Township.

Investor Thomas Frank, 53, of Washington Township said he's out $100,000. He served as a project manager for the entertainment hub and casino.

Frank said Defeo gained the trust of influential businesspeople, doctors and lawyers for the five-year development by showing them contracts and meeting with them weekly at another one of his offices, at 19 Mile in Clinton Township, and other places, such as the Troy Marriott.

It wasn't until last summer that anyone doubted his ability to bring the project to life.
"We repeatedly called. We repeatedly left messages. We trusted him. He seemed like a nice guy," said Frank, who was hired for his 30 years of construction experience.

full story

ANTHONY DEFEO: Businessman got $2 million from investors, according to more than 20 lawsuits in Macomb County Circuit Court.

Related articles
Allegations against developer Anthony Defeo mounting -- 2/10/09
Millions vanish with developer Anthony Defeo -- 2/9/09
Michigan had to shut Defeo-run clinic -- 2/9/09

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Defeo was the ugy that Diana Knowles was pushing for and complaining that the tribe didn't do their due diligence. Good way to take the focus off her involvement with crooks.

Anonymous said...

this is not the first time for this piece of Sh*t Defeo. I personally know of two other very similar situations that involved good friends, one of them involving me.

Anonymous said...

this is not the first time for this piece of Sh*t Defeo. I personally know of two other very similar situations that involved good friends, one of them involving me.

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha, that guy is nothing but a POS! He's a fake, I knew that after working with him for about two weeks. He's easy to spot with that fake leg of his, someone should club him with it.

Anonymous said...

He gained our trust and showed so much evidence this was really going to happen. Myself along with several others that I personally know put every penny into this thinking this was a chance of a lifetime, now we are all in a terrible situation...losing our homes our childrens college funds...etc...I am so mad at myself for trusting him

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Anonymous said...

This so called "Anthony Defeo" or should we say "Anthony Spero" depending on who he really is. Has used many people on different levels. Scam artist with his ponzi scheme bullshit. He has stolen from many people i know and has used different alias. He ripped probably a million dollars off from people there in macomb county under alias Anthony Spero. I know of 2 people he screwed over personally and they were held responsible for people who invested all together. They have lose there money and pay back money they never took. Crook!!!!! Just for the record he has ripped off some of the wrong people and will be lucky to go to prison.