New York developer tangles with Taplin family over scrapped $32M Brickell deal

1428 Brickell Avenue and Shahab Karmely
1428 Brickell Avenue and Shahab Karmely

The embattled Taplin family has a new opponent to fight in court: New York developer Shahab Karmely.

Karmely has recently filed a lawsuit against the Taplin Company, claiming the Taplins cut him out of a $32 million land deal in Brickell despite an exclusivity agreement.

According to the Miami Herald, Karmely’s suit says his company KAR Properties went under contract with the Taplin Company to buy an 80 percent stake in a 10-story office building at 1428 Brickell Avenue.

The deal seemed to be a sure thing. Neil Sazant, son-in-law to the late Martin Taplin and president of the Taplin Companies, had signed a letter of intent with Karmely, according to the Herald.

But behind the scenes, Karmely alleges, Taplin was using KAR Properties’ $32 million offer to gauge interest from other bidders. According to the Herald, the Taplin Company eventually agreed to sell to another bidder for $10 million higher than Karmerly’s offer, spurning the developer and inciting the lawsuit.

1428 Brickell had already been wrapped in litigation. Martin Taplin’s son Andrew filed a suit accusing his father of lining his own pockets with rent from the building in 2014. And the Taplins sued their lender, Walter Defortuna of Fortune International Realty, alleging he was trying to force the property owners to sell.

“When you have a deal with someone, it’s done,” Karmely, who’s also the developer behind One River Point, told the Herald. “I want to make a point of that and I want the property.” [Miami Herald]Sean Stewart-Muniz