The Real Deal New York

Realtor arrested after trying to extort the Jills

Kevin Tomlinson asked for $800,000 or else he'd go public

August 11, 2015 02:15PM

Jill Hertzberg and Jill Eber of Coldwell Banker

Jill Hertzberg and Jill Eber of Coldwell Banker

From the South Florida website: A Miami Beach realtor has reportedly been arrested after allegedly trying to extort one of Miami’s top-performing real estate duos, the Jills.

Kevin Francis Tomlinson, who worked with ONE Sotheby’s International Realty before the incident came to light, was arrested Saturday, the Miami Herald reported.

The story begins in April when Tomlinson filed a complaint with the Miami Association of Realtors against Jill Hertzberg and Jill Eber, stating that the two had altered MLS data to hide homes they were having a hard time selling.

Months later, Tomlinson asked to meet with Hertzberg and put an offer on the table to make the complaint disappear. The two met at Hertzberg’s home, where Tomlinson said the complaint would vanish if both of them paid him $250,000. If they refused, he threatened to take the complaint public. Complaints with the association are confidential, the Herald reported.

Kevin Tomlinson

Kevin Tomlinson

The Jills then went to the police. A Miami Beach detective asked Hertzberg to call Tomlinson again, and he came back to her home, where she had a $400,000 check waiting. He asked for $800,000, threatening to go to the press. When Hertzberg called him back the next day, Tomlinson said it was too late, the newspaper reported.

An arrest warrant for Tomlinson was issued, and officers took him into custody at his Meridian Lofts penthouse on Miami Beach. During the arrest, which he reportedly resisted, Tomlinson reached for one of the officer’s guns and grabbed its handle. He was charged with two felony counts of extortion, resisting arrest and depriving an officer of means of protection, the Herald reported.

ONE Sotheby’s fired Tomlinson after hearing about the incident. The Jills released a statement to the Herald, which said that they were “shaken by this extortion attempt, but want to thank the Miami Beach Police Department for their professionalism and guidance.” [Miami Herald] — Sean Stewart-Muniz