Fortune Realty caught in crossfire as Israeli couple tangles over $13M in Miami Beach properties

Suit asks brokerage to stop marketing properties at center of divorce fight

2581 Lake Avenue and Edgardo Defortuna (Credit: MLS, Zillow)
2581 Lake Avenue and Edgardo Defortuna (Credit: MLS, Zillow)

UPDATED April 4, 2018, 4:45 p.m.: An Israeli couple’s divorce battle over their multimillion-dollar Miami Beach property portfolio has ensnared one of South Florida’s most prominent real estate leaders, one of his sales agents, and his brokerage and development company.

Nicole Ankonina is suing her estranged husband Itzhak Bernard Ankonina Incorvaia, Fortune International Realty founder and president Edgardo Defortuna, and Fortune broker Alex Daguer to stop them from selling 10 residential properties between South Beach and Mid Beach she is laying claim to, according to a Nov. 17 lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court. Fortune International and four companies controlled by Incorvaia are also named as defendants.

Update: the suit was voluntarily dismissed on April 2.

The 2017 assessed value of the homes is $12.87 million, ranging from $265,733 for a one-bedroom condo at 1529 Jefferson Avenue to $5.1 million for a seven-bedroom, eight-bathroom mansion at 2581 Lake Avenue. That property is currently listed for $13.9 million on Zillow.

Ankonina’s attorney Ilan Nieuchowicz declined comment. Incorvaia could not be reached for comment, while a Fortune spokesperson said the company does not comment on pending litigation.

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The lawsuit and other court documents attached to the complaint state that during the dot-com bubble between 1999 and 2002, Ankonina sold her shares in a publicly traded software company she and Incorvaia founded, pocketing more than 4 million euros. She invested those earnings in real estate properties located in Israel and the U.S., including the 10 residences in Miami Beach, the suit says.

Ankonina alleges that even though the properties are legally titled to and controlled by Incorvaia, the couple each own a 50 percent stake in the homes. She initially filed for divorce from Incorvaia in Miami-Dade family court in June of last year, but he successfully had the complaint dismissed after she moved to Tel-Aviv. Over the summer, Ankonina filed for divorce in Tel-Aviv’s family court and has won two orders granting her an injunction against Incorvaia from selling their real estate assets and for violating the injunction, according to court documents.

However, the Israeli court doesn’t have jurisdiction over the couple’s U.S. properties. The lawsuit alleges Incorvaia retained Daguer and Fortune to sell the properties without Ankonina’s consent and that she sent her estranged spouse, Daguer and Defortuna cease-and-desist letters that they have ignored.

Ankonina wants a judge to enforce the Israeli court’s order by forcing Defortuna, Daguer and Fortune to stop marketing the properties for sale.

Harunobu Coryne contributed reporting.