The Real Deal Miami

Ohio steel suppliers allegedly stiffed Brown Harris Stevens on a $540k commission

Suit surrounds a condo unit at Glass in South Beach
By Francisco Alvarado | February 02, 2017 12:00PM

A rendering of Miami Beach’s Glass condo tower (left) and the finished product (right)

A prominent real estate brokerage is accusing an Ohio family of steel magnates of welching on a half-million dollar commission on a failed luxury condo transaction at Glass.

Brown Harris Stevens Miami LLC sued Majestic Steel Properties in Miami-Dade Circuit Court last month for breach of oral contract, breach of fiduciary duty and tortious interference.

Jeffrey Pardo, the lawyer for Brown Harris Stevens, declined comment.

According to Florida corporate records, Majestic Steel Properties is owned by Dennis Leebow, founder of wholesale steel supplier Majestic Steel U.S.A, and his son Matthew Lebow, the company’s head of acquisition and development.

In late October 2015, Majestic Steel Properties purchased two units at the Glass condo tower in South Beach for a combined $15 million. The Leebows did not return an email and a phone message seeking comment.

A month later, after Brown Harris Stevens entered into an oral real estate brokerage contract with Majestic Steel Properties, it found a buyer for one of the Glass units, according to the lawsuit. The condo owner agreed to pay Brown Harris Stevens a 6 percent commission, the lawsuit said. On Nov. 20, 2015, Miami Sun Holdings II LLC entered into a written purchase contract to pay $12 million for the condo.

According to its complaint, Brown Harris Stevens alleges the purchase contract acknowledged the brokerage had performed its duties under the oral agreement with Majestic Steel Properties. Douglas Elliman was also listed in the purchase contract as a cooperating broker entitled to a smaller cut of the $720,000 commission, which Brown Harris Stevens agreed to reduce to $540,000, per the lawsuit.

As a condition of the purchase agreement, Miami Sun made a $1.2 million deposit into an escrow account until the closing took place. According to the lawsuit, the escrow account was held by the title company, Clear Title Services, which is also named as a defendant.

Clear Title was responsible for making sure the seller and the buyer met their obligations, including paying any fees owed to the brokers involved, the suit said. However when the deal fell through and Miami Sun did not complete the purchase, Majestic Steel Properties kept the $1.2 million deposit without paying Brown Harris Stevens its $540,000 cut, according to the suit. Brown Harris Stevens was responsible for paying Douglas Elliman’s commission, the suit said.

According to Miami-Dade property records, Majestic Steel Properties paid $7.3 million for unit 1100 and $7.9 million for unit 1200.