The Real Deal Miami

Trial canceled: Masoud Shojaee drops remaining claims against Ugo Colombo and his companies

Shojaee's Shoma Wednesday evening voluntarily dismissed remaining issues after a judge had thrown out much of the case
By Ina Cordle | August 23, 2018 09:45AM

Collection Residences rendering with Masoud Shojaee and Ugo Colombo

UPDATED Aug. 23, 12:35 p.m. After three years of contentious litigation, Masoud Shojaee’s Shoma Group’s lawsuit against Ugo Colombo and his companies is over at the trial court level, while certain aspects still remain under appeal.

On Wednesday evening, Shoma filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss the final two remaining charges of the case tied to Colombo’s luxury dealership the Collection, after a judge had thrown out the rest of the lawsuit linked to the canceled development of the Collection Residences.

“They voluntarily abandoned their remaining claims; there was no settlement,” said Robert Burlington, partner at Coffey Burlington, who represents Colombo and his companies. Colombo and the companies are entitled to collect all of their legal fees, which have yet been determined.

A trial had been scheduled to begin on Monday on the remaining issues of the case, while Colombo’s firms’ motions to dismiss other aspects of the case had been pending, and the judge’s ruling on previous dismissals are under appeal. Those appeals remain pending.

Meanwhile, Baptist Health is under contract to pay $41.5 million for the Coral Gables development site — the property at the center of the litigation between developers Shojaee and Colombo, according to court documents.

Shojaee and Colombo had planned to jointly develop the Collection Residences, a mixed-use project with 128 condos and retail space at the 2.8-acre site at 250 Bird Road, 4101 Salzedo Street and 4112 Aurora Street, before their partnership ended in dispute nearly three years ago.

Shojaee and Colombo, through their firms, jointly owned Coral Gables Luxury Holdings LLC, which planned to develop the project across the street from The Collection. Following a major falling out in November 2015, Shojaee and Colombo pulled out of their joint venture.

In January 2016, Shojaee’s Shoma Coral Gables filed suit against Colombo’s Gables Investment Holdings LLC; Colombo, individually; and The Collection LLC, Colombo’s Coral Gables luxury car dealership, alleging breach of contract, among other counts. Shojaee’s company alleged that Colombo and his companies breached their operating agreement.

Judge William Thomas in June issued summary judgment against Shojaee and Shoma — and in favor of the defendants — on Shojaee’s alleged $56 million in lost profits claim. In July, he dismissed Colombo as a defendant in the case regarding interference in the operating agreement, and two weeks ago also dismissed Gables Investment Holdings as a defendant. Andrew Hall, founding partner of Hall, Lamb, Hall & Leto, who represents Shoma, had said those dismissals were under appeal.

“For a long time we were just trying to get them, to force them, to sell the property, and we were successful,” he said. Shojaee could not immediately be reached for comment.

Shoma voluntarily dropped the final two issues of the litigation that had remained: that the Collection allegedly interfered with the contract between Shojaee and Colombo; and that the Collection has been parking cars on the property without paying what Shoma claims is the market rate for parking spaces.

Burlington had said motions to dismiss both issues were pending, and the judge indicated he would rule on Monday before the trial on the motion to dismiss the Collection from the tortious interference allegation.