When Natascha Doinova sold her two-bedroom condo at Turnberry Ocean Colony five months ago, she allegedly squeezed out the agent who found her a buyer through One Sotheby’s International Realty’s broker associate Lana Bell. Now, The K Company Realty is suing Doinova in Miami-Dade Circuit Court for a cut of the commission from the $1.8 million sale — which represented $54,000.
“Our client put in a great deal of work to try to sell the property,” said Jorge Fors, who represents K Company. “Ultimately it was sold to a buyer my client had found. But everybody stopped answering her phone calls and, obviously, [she] didn’t receive the commission.”
Other defendants in the lawsuit are One Sotheby’s International Realty, its broker associate Lana Bell, the buyer Javier Gonzalez Galvan and his company Mayakoba 306 LLC. Bell did not respond to a request for comment. Efforts to reach Galvan were unsuccessful. Daniel de la Vega, president of One Sotheby’s International Realty, said in a statement that K Company’s lawsuit is “entirely without merit.”
“It’s difficult to understand why there is even any interest in this lawsuit, given that unfounded commission disputes like this one arise in real estate transactions in South Florida,” de la Vega said in his statement. “Regardless, One Sotheby’s fully intends to support its agent, Lana Bell, in opposing this frivolous and baseless action.”
John Cunill, the lawyer representing Doinova, also said the complaint has no legs because there was no contract between his client and K Company and its Realtor, Ana Franco Aguilera, who communicated with Bell about Galvan’s interest in the Turnberry Ocean Colony unit. He also claims it was Bell who found the listing for Doinova’s condo, located on the 33rd floor of the luxury tower in Sunny Isles Beach. “They don’t allege any contract existed and none is attached to the pleading, not even a purchase contract,” Cunill said. “To me, it’s a fairly weak case.”
According to the lawsuit, K Company and Doinova discussed on April 18 the prospects of the brokerage searching for, identifying and procuring a buyer. “It was mutually understood by the parties that Doinova would compensate K Company for its services by payment of the ordinary, customary real estate sales commission in a sum equal to 3 percent of the purchase price,” the complaint states.
The same day, Aguilera contacted Bell, who happens to reside at Turnberry Ocean Colony, to gauge whether the One Sotheby’s associate knew of a buyer who would purchase Doinova’s condo, the lawsuit states. Ten days later, Aguilera agreed to show the property to Galvan, Bell’s client who showed interest in the property. On April 30, Galvan made an offer and Bell prepared a purchase contract for $1.795 million.
The following day, even though Galvan upped his offer by $5,000, Aguilera told Bell that Doinova rejected the offer, K Company alleges. Doinova would not sell for less than $1.9 million, Aguilera allegedly informed Bell. Aguilera even tried to shave off 1 percent of her commission and Bell’s commission in order to convince her client to accept an offer in the $1.8 million to $1.85 million range, the lawsuit states.
In May, K Company alleges, Aguilera was shut out of further negotiations after Galvan incorporated Mayakoba 306, the company that was used to buy Doinova’s condo. “Bell, One Sotheby’s, Doinova and Galvan ceased all communications with K Company and Mr. Franco, and intentionally excluded The K Company from the negotiations for the purchase and sale of the property,” the lawsuit claims.
The sale closed on June 4, and to date, K Company has not received its commission, the firm alleges.