A small Miami-based real estate brokerage firm is going after industry giant JLL in a dispute over a six-figure commission.
Elite Global Realty, located at 905 Brickell Bay Drive, sued the Chicago-based national brokerage and former client Joao Batista Sayao in Miami-Dade Circuit Court this month, allegedly a conspiracy to avoid paying Elite a $177,729 fee after negotiating a lease for an office at 800 Brickell Avenue.
“[Sayao] had been working with Elite, which went through a bunch of negotiations to get him the space,” Elite’s attorney Timothy Ross said. “He ended up leasing the space through a new company he formed and the lease agreement states he had no broker.”
Ross said his client is entitled to a 15 percent commission because of Elite’s initial involvement in brokering the deal. Sayao’s attorney Michael Lascelle and a JLL corporate spokesperson did not return phone calls and emails seeking comment.
According to the lawsuit, Elite Global began negotiations with JLL Senior Vice President Noel Steinfeld on Dec. 17, 2015 to lease an office at 800 Brickell for Sayao. Over the next two weeks, Elite Global exchanged numerous emails with Steinfeld haggling over the lease terms, the lawsuit states. Steinfeld is now director of JLL’s Capital Markets Group in Atlanta, Georgia.
Two months later, Sayao incorporated Prudent Americas Real Estate Company and in March 2016 entered into a lease for a penthouse suite. The lawsuit claims that Sayao did an end run around Elite Global “with specific intent to defraud plaintiff out of its 15 percent commission.”
Elite also accuses Steinfeld and JLL of having full knowledge of Sayao’s alleged dirty dealings, as well as participating in defrauding Elite Global. In addition to the $177,729, Elite Global is also seeking damages against Sayao and JLL. According to state corporate records, Elite Global was founded in 2003 and handles residential and commercial deals.
Continental Real Estate Companies, or CREC, is now handling leasing at 800 Brickell.