The Real Deal Miami

Realtor arrested after trying to extort the Jills

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

August 11, 2015 10:30AM

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Jill Hertzberg and Jill Eber of Coldwell Banker

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

  • indeed

    Either way The Jills probably were doing some shady business on the MLS. They are not to be trusted.

    • Classic, they arrest him for extortion when he refuses their bribe. Such great journalism. Seems impartial and reasonable.

      • 1Fasthoo

        Which part of him refusing it because it wasn’t enough did you not understand? And yet you use the word “reasonable”…

        • Everything that I’ve read tells me that a) these stories are slanted toward the Jills and b) he’s accused of a few things but not yet convicted of any of them. Is it possible that this was indeed a retaliation to this complaint that he filed against them in an effort to take away the credibility of the complaint? The whole thing is all too convenient.

          • 1Fasthoo

            They may be slanted and while that’s not good, you are making yourself the judge without necessarily knowing all the facts. He’s not accused because in the US there’s a thing called due process. Afterwards we end up with a conviction or an acquittal.

          • Normally, I would wholeheartedly agree with you but considering all I’ve read about these two women and the city of Miami with regards to their police, press and the industry in general, I’m very suspicious. He files a legitimate grievance and then he’s arrested for extortion on a “sting”? The article the Herald wrote was biased at best. How come there is nothing about that grievance? Where’s the rest of this story?

  • Luz

    Either way this guy is a major pompous asshole and mediocre at best when it comes to any semblance of professionalism. Not so cute with no makeup on either, i may add.

    • Sue

      wow, you sure do get around. Ax to grind much? Keep hurling insults from behind your anonymous online persona……you are so immature and cowardly. Nothing better than kicking someone when they’re down and even better, anonymously.

      • Yeah, my gut tells me that Luz is a competing agent in Kevin’s market that loves to take an opportunity to kick someone when they are down. Karma will eventually sort this out.

    • JB Tee

      Cowardly liar.

  • The Real Deal about Tomlinson

    The Jills are vipers and everyone in the business knows it. Kevin can come off as a major jerk at times, but he has issues like we all do and the truth is, he is actually a good person. the Jills surely have connections within the police department and The Miami Herald who had a really pathetic and kiss-assy article in favor of the Jills. This is the way the world works. He or her in this instance, who has the gold makes the rules. Kevin is wacky, but The Jills are always unethical and this is quite the case of the pot calling the kettle black. Pathetic.

    • Agreed. I think there is much more to this story than what’s being “reported”

  • Grant Hollingsworth

    I love the Jills picture. NEVER did two 65 year old women look so good. I’m pretty sure they are all guilty of something. I don’t know him, but those two would kill their first born for a buck.

    • JB Tee

      He was set up – it will all come out

    • Kristian Toimil

      lol, have you seen the pic of Kevin Tomlinson? He looks like a late 20-something model in that pic

  • It’s too bad that those of us that are transplant Realtors from far more ethical (and far less crazy) states, have to deal with people and situations like this in Miami. I definitely blame the Association of Realtors for letting agents do pretty much anything and everything they want, without oversight, or consequences. In other states, NONE of the things that agents do in Miami would ever fly, and most of the 38,000+ agents in Miami would never have a license to begin with. It’s too bad because it makes our jobs that much more difficult.

    • 1Fasthoo

      I refer to South Florida as the Wild West of Real Estate.

  • Davina Smith-Melgarejo

    My first year of real estate I realized another top producer was doing the exact same thing: one day a listing (of theirs) expired, and the next it vanished from the mere existence of the MLS. This happened on multiple occasions; the year 2007 was hard all around. I brushed it off as administrators (and brokers) knowing the ins & outs of the system. Are they guilty? Odds are probable. But funny how all the news articles are in the Jills favor. After all, how on earth could two 65-year old prominent women do such a thing? Keep it classy, Miami.

    • 1Fasthoo

      They may be doing something shady with the MLS (a top agent in my area does similar stuff) and our Boards really need to look into these. At the same time, extortion is a felony, plain and simple.

  • Johanna Bassols

    So is there an ethics complain being processed or not? The association of realtors is on the table now. If they don’t apply their rules equally to all then they will not have any credibility whatsoever.

    • I don’t have any faith in the Miami association to do anything they should be doing. They operate the local MLS like the Wild West compared to every other city/state. I doubt they will do anything.