A New York landlord is learning the hard way that you shouldn’t mix business with pleasure after his former business partner and girlfriend filed a lawsuit against him seeking $500,000 for breaches of contract and restitution.
The suit, raised by Douglas Elliman agent Vesna Todorov out of Palm Beach, alleges that her ex-lover Michael Speiser kept her on the hook for years as he promised to leave his wife for her and used her to make real estate deals in South Florida.
Speiser and Todorov met in New York around May 2010, according to the suit, filed earlier this week in New York Supreme Court. The landlord and interior designer quickly hit it off and began dating, despite Spieser being married with children.
The two even began living together full-time in a Palm Beach apartment, while Speiser continually delayed his promises to divorce his wife. Todorov, who was not working at the time, became restless and wanted to start earning her own income, according to the suit.
Speiser proposed they begin investing in real estate together: Todorov would earn her Realtor’s license and identify properties for them to invest in, and Speiser would fund the transactions.
As part of the agreement, she was to get a commission from the purchase as well as a piece of whatever the property sold for when they flipped it, according to the suit, first reported by the New York Daily News.
With Tadorov as his broker, Speiser bought a $1.775 million unit at 350 South Ocean Boulevard in Palm Beach and a flashy $3.7 million unit at the Ritz-Carlton Residences in Miami.
The suit alleges that Speiser later pocketed part of Tadorov’s $37,800 commission for the Palm Beach unit and told her she wouldn’t get anything when the Ritz-Carlton unit was eventually sold.
On top of that, Speiser picked up a new broker girlfriend when Todorov left for a few weeks in 2014. He kicked her out of his properties and refused to return all of her belongings, the suit alleges.