Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden Pays $21.8 Million for Drug Trafficker’s Former Miami Mansion

E-scooter entrepreneur Travis VanderZanden is trying his best to kiss Los Angeles goodbye. The Appleton, Wisconsin native recently sold his $9 million Santa Monica home, though he hasn’t had any luck unloading his huge Bel Air mansion — that place has been on sale for over seven months, and is currently offered for $23.9 million. But that has not stopped VanderZanden from already relocating to Miami, where records reveal he’s dropped about $21.8 million on a waterfront estate in the affluent Coral Gables suburb.

Located in the 24/7 guard-gated Gables Estates community — a private enclave of 192 homes, all of them waterfront — the Mediterranean-themed mansion has an interesting ownership history, despite only having been built in 2015. In 2016, it was sold for $16.5 million to international fugitive Samark Lopez Bello, a Venezuelan national, alleged “drug kingpin” and frontman for Tarek El Aissami, the former vice president of Venezuela. The U.S. government subsequently accused Lopez Bello, and El Aissami, of supervising Venezuelan drug trafficking operations; last year, Lopez Bello’s house was seized by U.S. Marshals and auctioned for $12.3 million to businessman Steven Lempera.

It was Lempera who lucratively flipped the place to VanderZanden. As for aesthetics, The Real Deal previously noted that the Coral Gables bears a “striking resemblance” to Tony Montana’s “Scarface” mansion. With nearly 14,000 square feet of living space, the place is quite large, and there are dozens of white columns and expansive loggias surrounding the structure, which boasts nine bedrooms and 11 bathrooms. Out back, an infinity-edged swimming pool overlooks a watery Biscayne Bay inlet.

There’s also a laundry list of fancy amenities — state-of-the-art kitchen appliances, a sophisticated Lutron lighting system, full home automation, a movie theater and hardwood floors throughout. Nearly every room in the vast structure has spectacular views of the water, or of lush courtyards and 1.3 acres of flat grounds.

VanderZanden, 42, was previously an executive at both Uber and Lyft before founding scooter sharer service Bird in 2017. The company raised hundreds of millions in venture funding before going public earlier this month; the Santa Monica-based firm currently sports a total market cap of $1.77 billion. Today, VanderZanden’s own 34.7 million shares are worth north of $220 million.

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