Coldwell Banker sues for unpaid commission on $26M Coral Gables auction sale

Engel & Völkers Miami plans to file its own lawsuit for its commission
By Katherine Kallergis |
Research by Haru Coryne
June 06, 2019 02:30PM

Lourdes Alatriste, Jill Hertzberg and Marc Hameroff with 41 Arvida Parkway (Credit: Realtor)

Lourdes Alatriste, Jill Hertzberg and Marc Hameroff with 41 Arvida Parkway (Credit: Realtor)

Coldwell Banker is suing the seller of a $25.5 million estate in Coral Gables sold at auction, alleging it did not receive its commission for bringing the buyer to the deal. And now Engel & Völkers Miami is also planning to sue for its side of the deal, The Real Deal has learned.

Coldwell Banker sued ICB Properties of Miami LLC, led by Vincent Miclet, in Miami-Dade Circuit Court for breach of listing agreement, breach of purchase and sale contract and unjust enrichment. Barry Goodkind, an attorney for Engel & Völkers Miami, said he’s planning to file a similar suit against the seller.

In April, Miclet, who owns PetroPlus Overseas, an Angola-based petroleum company, sold the 14,000-square-foot mansion at 41 Arvida Parkway to Steven Lempera, president of Mokena, Illinois-based Future Environmental. The waterfront property was sold through an auction by Concierge Auctions.

Jill Hertzberg of The Jills Zeder Group at Coldwell Banker is owed a 2.5-percent commission, or $637,500, for bringing the buyer to the deal, according to the lawsuit. Engel & Völkers Miami agents Marc Hameroff and Lourdes Alatriste, who represented the seller, also did not receive their cut of the commission, Goodkind said.

The property hit the market in February 2018, at which point Engel & Völkers agreed to a 5 percent commission to be split in half with a buyer’s broker, the lawsuit alleges.

According to an addendum added to the agreement, if the property were to sell for more than $29 million, the commissions would each be 3 percent. If it sold below $29 million, each side would receive 2.5 percent. The seller would be responsible for the commission, the lawsuits states.

Unbeknownst to Coldwell Banker, the seller, Engel & Völkers and the closing agent, Barry Sega P.A., entered into an escrow agreement that states that if there is a commission dispute, the sale should still close, the lawsuit alleges.

The agreement states that the “seller does not believe the seller is obligated to pay this commission to broker but the parties have agreed that the underlying purchase and sale of the property should be consummated,” according to the lawsuit.

Goodkind believes “the seller is hoping to exert some leverage and negotiate the commission.” He said the escrow agreement was likely executed to protect the closing agent.

The agreement outlines the deposit of escrow funds for the $1.275 million commission.

Concierge Auctions was brought on in February  to auction the property, which was on the market for $68 million. The New York-based auction house would receive a 12 percent buyer’s premium as part of the purchase. Lempera purchased the mansion at auction on March 23.

A spokesperson for Coldwell Banker declined to comment. ICB Properties of Miami’s attorneys, Aaron Resnick and Frank Smith, said they do not comment on pending litigation.

The $25.5 million sale is one of the most-expensive single-family home sales to close this year in Miami-Dade.

The Coral Gables house, designed by Graciela Leanza, has an outdoor summer kitchen, pool and separate captain’s quarters. The property includes 574 feet of water frontage, and a protected canal dock that can accommodate a 200-foot-plus mega-yacht with a separate sewer system and fresh water filling station.