UPDATED, June 6, 12 p.m.: For the 10th time this year, condo buyers at Parque Towers in Sunny Isles Beach are suing the developer over allegations of selling units that were smaller than allegedly advertised.
The latest suit, seeking class action, was filed by lawyer David Reiner on behalf of class representative Joseph Isacoff. It accuses developer J. Milton & Associates of misrepresenting the actual size of units in sales and promotional materials for the luxury project at 300-330 Sunny Isles Boulevard.
Reiner also represents plaintiffs in other lawsuits in Miami-Dade Circuit Court against the developer, including buyers Josh and Michelle Kurzban, who recently lost a key ruling in their case that could have implications for the new class action litigation.
“Parque Towers advertised, and is still advertising, units in the development as being 20 percent to 30 percent larger than they actually are,” Reiner said. “These are not just simple contract disputes, they are violations of Florida laws designed to protect every consumer who buys pre-construction condominium units in Florida.”
Reiner said his law firm has also asked the Florida Attorney General and the general counsel for the Florida Division of Business and Professional Regulation to join the class action lawsuit.
Robert Frankel, the attorney representing J. Milton development entity and defendant Parque Towers Developer LLC, said the class action lawsuit has no merit.
“We don’t expect this case to go anywhere,” Frankel said. “This plaintiff is looking at serious attorney fees coming his way when he loses this case.”
According to the suit, more than 200 buyers believed they were buying units measuring 1,860 square feet and 2,500 square feet, respectively, in the two-tower, 320-unit project. One of the towers is still under construction.
Instead, at closings, the developer submitted surveyor certifications showing the units were approximately 1,560 square feet and 1,900 square feet, respectively, according to the suit. Reiner said the class action seeks $80 million in damages, which represents the value of the square footage that was allegedly shaved off.
“This type of false advertising was more prevalent in pre-construction condominium sales during the last real estate crash, and most developers have been much more forthcoming in their promotional materials lately,” Reiner said. “But Parque Towers continues to misrepresent the actual unit sizes.”
In December, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Valerie R. Manno Schurr granted partial summary judgment for the Kurzbans, who claimed they were entitled to nixing the purchase and wanted a refund of their $597,500 deposit. The couple alleged the unit they purchased was 25 percent less than the 2,500 square feet they had been shown in marketing materials. As a result, they paid $634 per square foot instead of $478 per square foot for the unit, their lawsuit claims.
But on May 6, Schurr reversed herself and tossed out her ruling in the Kurzbans’ favor after Parque Towers Developer requested she reconsider her decision. Frankel noted a different judge had struck down a motion for summary judgment by another buyer suing the developer.
“I hope Mr. Reiner has the decency to tell his clients in the class action that he suffered a major setback in the Kurzban case,” Frankel said. “The fact is this lawsuit is dead on arrival.”
Still, J. Milton may be tied up in litigation over unit sizes at Parque Towers for some time. Since January, 10 lawsuits have been filed against the developer, including the class action complaint. There are another 12 pending lawsuits that were filed between May 2018 and October 2019.
Correction: In a previous version of this story, Robert Frankel’s name was misspelled.