Ritz-Carlton Residences Sunny Isles developers face second lawsuit from Tropicana

New complaint alleges Fortune International Group and Chateau Group violated good neighbor agreement and damaged Tropicana Condominium

Oct.October 28, 2019 09:45 AM
Edgardo Defortuna, Ritz-Carlton Residences Sunny Isles Beach

Edgardo Defortuna, Ritz-Carlton Residences Sunny Isles Beach

UPDATED, Oct. 29, 10:30 a.m.: Seven months after settling a lawsuit over a failed $115 million deal for the Tropicana Condominium, the building’s condo association is again suing the developers of the neighboring Ritz-Carlton Residences in Sunny Isles Beach.

The developers, a partnership between Chateau Group and Fortune International Group, is now accused of allowing construction debris to rain down on the Tropicana’s pool deck, damaging the pool and Jacuzzi, as well as making the area unsafe for residents and guests.

The condo association’s new complaint, filed on Oct. 15 in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, alleges the partnership’s shell company Sunny Isles Property Venture LLC is refusing to pay for the pool and Jacuzzi repairs and $225,000 in exterior building work. That is despite an alleged agreement between the Tropicana condo association and the developers to repair damages caused by debris falling from the construction site of the 52-story luxury tower. The Tropicana is nine stories tall.

Attorneys for the Tropicana did not return messages requesting comment. Chateau Group principal Manuel Grosskopf said in a statement that “we believe the lawsuit is baseless and we will rigorously defend our position.”

Edgardo Defortuna, president and CEO of Fortune International Group, said the latest complaint is baseless. “We feel the lawsuit has no merit, similar to previous lawsuits filed by the condominium, and will defend accordingly,” Defortuna said.

In March, the condo association and the developers settled a 2018 lawsuit that alleged Defortuna and Grosskopf blocked a proposed $115 million sale of all 48 units in the Tropicana to benefit their development plans for the Ritz-Carlton Residences. The developers allegedly used straw buyers to purchase five Tropicana units, who subsequently voted against selling when the deal was proposed. Settlement terms were not made public.

In the latest lawsuit, the Tropicana condo association alleges that Fortune and Chateau are refusing to honor a 2017 agreement to cover any verified damages to the older building caused by construction debris and activities. Throughout the buildout of the Ritz-Carlton, the Tropicana has been caked in dust, grease from a construction site elevator dripping all over the property and residents have experienced loud noises, according to the suit.

Then in May, a window panel crashed down on the pool deck, sending shards of glass in the pool, Jacuzzi and adjacent landscaping, the lawsuit states. In addition to the accident, vibrations from the construction activity next door severely damaged the pool deck’s plumbing and the two amenities have remained inoperable for the past five months because Fortune and Chateau won’t pay for the repairs, the condo association alleges.

The association is now seeking an injunction to force the Ritz-Carlton Residences developers to secure the site and stop creating safety hazards for residents and guests of the Tropicana, the lawsuit states.

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