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Yacht Club at Portofino sues to evict city of Miami Beach over nonpayment for repairs

Miami Beach leases 115 parking spaces, a laundry room and lavatory and shower facilities at the 361-unit condo building
By Francisco Alvarado | August 18, 2017 12:15PM

Yacht Club at Portofino

A dispute over nearly $900,000 in building repairs, between the condominium association for the Yacht Club at Portofino and the city of Miami Beach, could prevent city residents and visitors from parking cars and using public restrooms at the 34-story luxury tower.

On July 28, Yacht Club’s condo association moved to evict the city, the Miami Beach Redevelopment Agency and Miami Beach Marina Associates, the company that operates a public dock behind the property, by filing a lawsuit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court. Attorneys for Yacht Club at Portofino and the city did not respond to requests for comment.

Since 1998, the city and the redevelopment agency have leased 115 parking spaces, a laundry room, as well as lavatory and shower facilities at the 361-unit condo building at 90 Alton Road. Two years ago, the association determined it would need to repair the parking garage due to severe water penetration into the structure, the lawsuit states.

In November of the year, the association sent the city and the redevelopment agency letters requesting payment for its share of the budgeted repairs as outlined in the lease agreement. The bill was for $863,574. According to a copy of that lease attached to the lawsuit, the city and the agency agreed to pay a portion of the operating expenses and maintenance costs associated with the space leased to them.

A year later, on Dec. 16, 2016, the city’s lawyer Meredyth Cooper notified the association that it did not agree with the allocation of operating expenses and requested a meeting to resolve the dispute amicably. According to that letter, which was also attached to the lawsuit, Cooper claims Miami Beach and the redevelopment agency are not responsible for paying operating expenses that do not benefit the users of the city’s designated parking spots and the bathrooms and laundry room.

Cooper asserted that the association commingled the cost of repairs for the city’s leased portion with repair costs for the entire Yacht Club, making “it difficult to distinguish the responsive amounts being sought without further clarification.” For instance, a lump sum amount for tile materials and installation presumably included areas such as penthouses and townhomes, which are private areas unrelated to the city’s lease, Cooper wrote.

On Jan. 27, Miami Beach representatives requested additional documentation and requested to do an on-site inspection of the repairs being done. The association complied with both requests a month later, the lawsuit claims. But the city continued to refuse payment for its share. On May 3, the association sent the city another notice about paying its share of the operating expenses.

But two weeks later, Cooper again restated the city and the redevelopment agency’s position disputing the amounts. On May 20, the association notified the city and the agency that both were in default. Cooper held her ground and offered to resolve the dispute by negotiating a settlement with a mediator.