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In the Know: Pro athletes cut SWFL real estate deals; comings and goings on Fifth and beyond – Naples Daily News

Some will often question the large interest and expense in communities wanting and hosting spring training baseball or minor league sports programs.

Whether you support the concept or not, the impact sometimes goes well beyond the economic dollars such ventures may, and sometimes may not, bring to a city or county.

A few of the northern residents who root for these clubs end up moving to these destinations as they become familiar with the community. And they spend money for homes, appliances, meals and more.

Hence, the pipeline here of Boston Red Sox fans who unfortunately tend to cheer for the New England Patriots, which seemingly may have replaced my largely hapless Miami Dolphins as the “local” team.

In addition, it puts a region on the radar of the athletes themselves who mostly learned of a town as a participant. Some of them have done better than others financially or through connections they develop playing during the spring or longer seasons.

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They end up as investors and, in at least one instance this past week, participate in Southwest Florida transactions with each other as was the case with former Minnesota Twins pitcher Mike Trombley and ex-Florida Everblades star Tom Buckley.

Trombley, an 11-year Major League Baseball veteran and closer you don’t bet against on the golf course either, closed out a contract with Buckley, who retired as the local hockey team’s all-time leader in just about every statistical category.

Buckley’s newly created LLC that state records show became official a few days ago, purchased 2.56 acres about a mile north from the gates of the Fort Myers Fiddlesticks Country Club, among spots Trombley has previously set course records.

Mike Trombley appeared often in Southwest Florida newspapers during his days with the Minnesota Twins and after retiring from the team, not just for his success on the baseball field but on the golf course in local tournaments.

No word from Buckley on what he plans to do with the vacant 13461 Fiddlesticks Blvd. property after the $270,000 sale by Trombley’s and his wife’s Major League of Lee County 2 LLC. LSI Companies’ Justin Thibaut served as the broker for the commercial land that sits near Daniels Road and I-75 and across from The Shoppes of Fiddlesticks anchored by a Publix.

It happens to be just over two miles from where Trombley would take the mound on many a March day at Hammond Stadium as part of a career that spanned 1992 to 2002. NHL data shows Buckley playing a decade in the minors and finishing his five-season run locally in 2004 as a captain in his familiar No. 14 that was retired in 2007.

The pair, too, are linked through attorney and former prosecutor Frank J. Aloia Jr., the registered agent for both of their LLCs and third generation Southwest Florida native who serves on the Fiddlesticks club board of directors. Aloia’s a 1989 Bishop Verot grad. Go Vikes.

Everblades forward Tom Buckley

The price is right on David Price estate

Minnesota’s richest man, Glen Taylor, was in Naples this weekend to cut a $1.5 billion agreement. But the Timberwolves owner wasn’t peddling his Port Royal beauty at 3400 Fort Charles Drive that public records show his trust obtained for $10.5 million in 2008. Instead, he was negotiating to hand over his NBA team to e-commerce mogul Marc Lore and former New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez.

However, another pro athlete was at the center of a large recent real estate deal in Collier County that’s almost pocket change for a relief pitcher set to earn $32 million in 2021 for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

During the baseball off-season for him, David Price, who played his first seven years for the Tampa Bay Rays through 2014, unloaded his 6,600-square-foot Naples estate through a trust that owned it for $4.45 million.

Former Prato Way home of Major League Baseball pitcher David Price.

As a member of the Red Sox during spring training 2018, Price spent $4.28 million to acquire the four-bedroom six-bathroom manor on the 14th hole of Talis Park Golf Club, one fairway down from golfer Rocco Mediate, who has since sold his place.

A trust tied to Hoosier auto dealer Terry Lee now possesses the half-acre compound at 16729 Prato Way that features a pool where a golf ball or two have been known to splashdown.

In fact, a Sox fan one time tried to get his returned via Twitter: “Mr. Price, I just hit a golf ball into your pool. Could I get that back at some point?”

To which Price, who has previously won a pro-am portion of a PGA Tour stop as one of the better golfers in baseball, responded in a fun exchange:

“Depends on the type of ball,” said Price, an aficionado of a top-flight Bridgestone sphere. “That’s a pretty bad miss right.”

Boston Red Sox's David Price reacts during the sixth inning of the second game of a baseball doubleheader on June 8, 2019.

Not long before his Collier County exit, Price had already jettisoned his $6.1 million home outside Boston. However, another trust of his rolled out $9.5 million in cash to fellow MLBer Justin Upton for a magnificent mancave near where the Dodgers train in Arizona. Upton’s brother, B.J., had been a teammate of Price’s in Tampa.

The 14,396 square feet features an indoor basketball court with a retractable batting cage, a rooftop observation deck and a golf simulator.

Price is hanging onto the 10,000-square foot house in his hometown of Nashville, according to However, he said Friday he does have another big sale coming up: Auctioning off a World Series ring for a fundraiser.

Dodgers pitcher David Price sits in the dugout during spring training in February.

The former Cy Young Award winner and five-time All-Star has struggled through the first 10 days of this season, throwing three innings with an earned run average of 12.27.

But Price had had challenges in the past, such as when he tearfully informed his college team that he was quitting baseball and dropping out and taking a job at McDonald’s.

Fortunately for him, his coach thought better of it, and Price instead took the McMansion route through Naples.

A way to remember Greg Montgomery

Many of us may remember All-Pro Greg Montgomery as one of the NFL’s most solid punters, largely for the Houston Oilers and in college for Michigan State.

But what a lot of us might not have realized, as we focused on the pandemic, was that Montgomery, 55, passed away in August, taking his own life.

Now Preferred Properties Real Estate is among the sponsors for a multi-faceted Naples event this month organized by Montgomery’s sister with an aim to improve mental health services in Southwest Florida.

Houston Oilers punter Greg Montgomery in 1992.

Margot Moran and other family members have launched The Gregory H. Montgomery Jr. Foundation for Ultimate Growth, which is holding its first major fundraiser, Fore Love & Wellness, on April 29-30 at the Vineyards Country Club in Naples.

Diagnosed with bipolar disorder in his final season of football in 1997, Montgomery talked about it publicly in an attempt to stop the stigma.

“Greg was very brave and awesome about using his platform as an NFL player,” Moran said.

The foundation’s goal is to improve education, programs and funding for mental health. Its motto: He lives through lives saved.

Fore Love & Wellness, a play on the golf and tennis tournaments that anchor the event, includes a silent auction that’s live now online and culminates with a live reception, in person and online. The emcee is NFL punter Sean Landeta, a friend of Montgomery’s and a famed player who logged 22 seasons in the league.

Other sponsors include Cullen Capital Management, Metrics Global, JCT Foundation, Edison Innovation Foundation, Specialty Solutions, Piper Sandler, Danny Keegan and Brenda and Frank Mergenthaler.

Tickets are available at

Comings and goings: Fifth Avenue South corridor

Ciao to Ristorante Ciao after 34 years

► Say ciao to Ristorante Ciao, which is marking its 34th anniversary this month as Executive Chef and owner Gianfranco Loreti makes plans to close in May at 835 4th Ave. S., Naples.

“We will be turning off the stove’s burners after dinner service on Sunday, May 9,” Restaurant Manager Carol Rosen said Thursday night. “Chef Gianfranco has been running the kitchen since Day 1.”

The Eurofest Celebration was held Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, at Ristorante Ciao in Naples. It was hosted by Opera Naples. This year the celebration featured Italy with Italian music and cuisine.

Several factors are playing a role in the closing including the pandemic, but Rosen and Loreti, an Italian native from Colle di Tora, are taking it all in stride.

“COVID effectively forced us to operate at 50% or less for 10 of the past 12 months due to the fact that people were concerned about dining out until just recently,” Rosen said. “Retirement has now become a reality. Both Gianfranco and I are going to take some time to enjoy the Gulf breezes and relax — something restaurant owners are seldom able to do.”

As a thank you to customers, they’re working on promotions, and restaurant writer Andrew Atkins plans to write more about Ciao in the near-future.

New York City and Naples eyelid surgeon Dr. Irene Gladstein.

Project Glammers from NYC to Naples

►  New York City eyelid specialist Dr. Irene Gladstein quietly opened a new location on March 29 in Suite 204 at 898 Fifth Ave. S.

This is the third location for the oculoplastic surgeon’s Project Glammers, which has offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn and where she has performed thousands of eyelid lifts after earning her medical doctorate at New York University.

Born and raised in Europe, Gladstein said she opened her original practices in 2008, focusing on aesthetic and reconstructive surgery, and then shifted strictly to cosmetic procedures for women and men. She has been a part-time Naples area resident for several years before deciding, like many Empire Staters in 2020, to stay year-round.

Owners Ann Rasmussen And Eric Marvin of Health & Wealth Co., which opened on Fifth Avenue South.

Who doesn’t want health and wealth?

► Sounds like the best of both worlds. And perhaps a unique pairing in the business world.

Health & Wealth Co. officially opened about a week ago at 640 Fifth Ave. S., offering services that address those mighty subjects.

Here’s a sampling of what’s on the menu in what the owners describe as a “tranquil, boutique environment:” IV vitamin therapy, vitamin shots, supplements, rubdowns, acupuncture, financial management, insurance and estate planning.

Health & Wealth Co. opened on Fifth Avenue South.

I’m thinking maybe do my taxes while giving me a back massage. Yeah, that would do the trick of relieving a pair of pains.

The concept is the brainchild of financial planner Eric M. Marvin and Ann Rasmussen, an audiologist who is the founder of Doctor’s Hearing LLC.

“So many people spend their health gaining wealth, and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health,” Marvin said. “Ideally, we want the community to embrace proactive planning for their financial and physical health.”

Stadium Gallery opens on Fifth Avenue South

Move over Kennebunkport

►  To go with its addresses in Sarasota, Kennebunkport, Maine, Newport, R.I. and Cooperstown, N.Y., Stadium Gallery opened its fifth shop at 612 Fifth Ave. S. last month.

As part of its Rob Arra Collection, the operation specializes in licensed panoramic stadium prints with more than 800 stadiums currently available.

That now makes more than 220 entities including high-end shops, dining, boutiques and galleries, and entertainment options that call downtown home, according to the Fifth Avenue South Business Improvement District.

Based at the Naples Daily News, Columnist Phil Fernandez ( writes In the Know as part of the USA TODAY NETWORK. Support Democracy and subscribe to a newspaper.



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