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Developer arrested over giant watermelon slice sculpture March 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts.

A prominent US developer has been arrested for allegedly skimming official funds to buy himself a $US150,000 sculpture of a giant watermelon slice.

Miami developer Raul Masvidal turned himself in to authorities after he was charged with organised fraud and grand theft.

An affidavit filed in court says Masvidal had obtained millions of dollars from the Miami-Dade county to build new offices for the Housing Agency, but used part of the money to buy the sculpture by artist Julio Larraz. The sculpture, called “Mars”, portrays a huge watermelon slice that has been bitten.

To hide the purchase, he allegedly asked an art broker to write a fake invoice that listed only a sculpture of stacked cups that was to grace the new building, but charged for both artworks. The Cuban-born Masvidal had gained prominence in Miami as a political adviser, philanthropist and businessman.

“What a great disappointment,” State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said. “He turned on his community. He turned on his friends.”

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