Broker sues NFL player over commissions from North Miami apartment deal

Agent said she did all the legwork before getting hit with cease-and-desist from other brokerage

Sep.September 22, 2016 08:45 AM

An investment company owned by Elvis Dumervil, an NFL linebacker turned property investor, was just hit with a lawsuit from a real estate broker who claims she was shut out of a recent $18 million apartment deal in North Miami.

The suit centers around Dumervil’s $18.2 million purchase of a multifamily portfolio with five buildings and 233 units earlier this month from Canadian investment firm Econo-Malls Management Corp.

Miami realtor Gerly Laine filed suit last month in Miami-Dade Circuit court against Marcus & Millichap, the seller’s brokerage; Global Prestige Estates, the investment company Dumervil used to make the purchase, and Star Realty & Investment Group, the brokerage Laine alleges was trying to take credit for her work on the sale and is challenging her right to commissions.

Laine sued on behalf of herself and Elite Celebrity Realty, the brokerage she launched this year that’s geared toward brokering real estate deals for athletes.

According to the complaint, Laine was brought on by Dumervil to help move along his North Miami purchase, which was in jeopardy of falling apart.

After she and Dumervil made an oral contract, the suit says, she took up negotiations on Dumervil’s behalf, found him a new attorney and helped bring the two parties to an agreement.

But in August, just weeks before the deal was set to close, Laine was hit by a cease-and-desist order from a law firm representing a brokerage called Star Realty & Investment Group, according to the suit.

The order, attached to the suit, said Laine was interfering in Star Realty’s contract with Dumervil to broker the apartment sale — a contract Laine said she was never informed about. The complaint also alleges that Star Realty has been a defunct corporation since 2013, with its president Emily Echavarria incorporating a new company the same month that the deal was expected to close.

Laine said in her complaint that Star Realty is trying to cut her out of the deal after she did all the heavy lifting. She’s now seeking declaratory relief to enforce her oral contract with Dumervil and be paid a commission.

Requests for comment to Dumervil, Laine and Emily Echavarria, president of Star Realty, were not immediately returned.

Felipe Echarte, the Marcus & Millichap agent who handled the deal on behalf of the seller, Econo-Malls, said his firm would prefer to stay out of the buyer’s side of the transaction. He declined to comment further.

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