Halstead takes Thor to court over disputed commission

Claims firm initially passed on Miami property Halstead recommended — but later purchased it

Mar.March 04, 2014 11:45 AM

Halstead Property filed a $1.25 million suit against Thor Urban Investments, alleging the firm negotiated a $27 million real estate acquisition for a Miami property that was rejected in March 2013 — but was later agreed to for nearly double the price.

In the suit, which was filed Feb. 25 in Manhattan Supreme Court, Halstead claims it is entitled to a brokerage commission/finders fee equivalent to 2.5 percent of the purchase price.

Halstead alleges that in February 2013, John Goldman, managing director of its commercial division, advised Cory Elbaum, managing director at Thor Equities, that a property at 10-15 Northeast 40th Street/3995 North Miami Avenue, in the Design District of Miami, was on the market.

As The Real Deal reported, the property, an office/retail building in the Miami Design District, was previously sold in 2012 for $6.15 million, or $188 per square foot, to an entity called RD Design District.

Goldman allegedly visited the property twice, and Elbaum visited the property on at least one more occasion by March 21, 2013. Thor made an offer to buy the property for $23.5 million. The seller later made a counteroffer, and Thor said it was “passing” on the deal, the complaint alleges.

Halstead claims that by November, Thor entered an agreement to buy the property for $50 million, without using Halstead as the broker. Lawyers for Halstead claim the firm is still owed a 2.5 percent commission for bringing the parties to the table.

Attorney Neal Schwarzfeld, representing Halstead, was not available for comment. Goldman said he could not comment without consulting with his colleagues at the firm. Elbaum said he had not seen the complaint.

Thor, however, denied the allegations through a spokesman.

“As active investors and developers in Miami, we are in constant contact with numerous brokers,” said spokesman Stefan Friedman, in a statement. “We never had any agreement with Halstead, and it provides no services in connection with the transaction being pursued for this dynamic property. This lawsuit is simply baffling and we fully anticipate its dismissal.”

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