Miami Beach playboy Thomas Kramer used to be rich: Yachts, cars, wine, women and song--$100 million real estate deals—he had it all. Now, by his own account, he is down to his last $300,000, which he is spending at the rate of $50,000 a month on personal expenses.
He has no job. He has no income. What will he do when the money runs out?
The answer to that and to many other questions raised by Kramer's fabulous and confounding life come from a deposition he gave in December.
Attorney Charles Throckmorton of Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton, representing heirs of a Swiss tycoon who had had business dealing with Kramer, grilled the busted bon vivant for six hours, seeking to establish (among other things) Kramer's fitness to pay a judgment against him of more than $108 million, obtained by the heirs in 2007.
In the deposition, Kramer, who says he owns two South Beach homes valued at up to $55 million, pleads poverty, saying he has job and no income.
Plus, he says, it's not as if he hasn't tried to make economies: His butler now works for him only on a freelance basis, a few days a week. The same holds true for his maid and houseman.
He has auctioned off, he says, almost all his artwork and has sold his collection of watches. He has sold his boats. Having sold his Range Rover to a friend who lets him still drive it, his only other transportation is a bicycle bought for him by his brother at Costco for "149 bucks."
How could it possibly be, then, asked Throckmorton, that in 2013 Kramer attended the Golden Globes, went to Universal Studios, traveled to Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Vietnam? How had he hosted a birthday party in Las Vegas, attended the Cannes Film Festival, attended Elton John's White Tie and Tiara Summer Ball in England and gone to a wedding in Denmark?
"Actually seven, eight weddings," Kramer interrupted. "You forgot them, in seven different countries. Was great."
How had it been possible, Throckmorton continued, for him to attend the International Auto Show in Frankfurt and to hike the Dolomites?'
"Yeah," said Kramer, "it's fantastic."
Kramer never denies he made money in his profile as a high-profile developer of Florida real estate. Two recent profiles of him (one in the Miami Herald, the other in Miami New Times) describe him as one of the developers most responsible for turning South Beach from a run-down neighborhood into the A-list destination it has become.
In his deposition, Kramer says that at one time he owned 20 properties—"among the most expensive real estate in the United States." But business reverses and the 2007 judgment against him relieved him of his wealth. So, how does he continue to live so well?
"How do you fund this life-style, Mr. Kramer?" Throckmorton asks.
"With my father's inheritance," he replies. "That's why I spent $2 million [last] year." Elsewhere in the deposition, he explains that he received an inheritance of some $3.3 million in 2012.
"What do you do when you need cash?" asks Throckmorton. Kramer says he calls a banker in Dubai and has it wired to him.