UPDATED, July 21, 2:15 p.m.: A property management company allegedly won’t stop maintaining four small condo buildings in Miami Beach, despite being fired, according to a recently filed lawsuit.
According to the suit against Royal Management Group, the firing came amid allegations of self-dealing by one of the company’s managers.
Marco Belfiore and Federico Olivieri, condo association members representing the four properties in the city’s Art Deco Historic District, are suing Royal Management Group in Miami-Dade Circuit Court to force the company to abide by the termination. The lawsuit states the condo boards fired Royal after finding out one of its managers retained his wife’s insurance company as a vendor for the associations.
The South Beach condominiums, all of which are small-rise buildings, are at 920 Jefferson Avenue, 928 Jefferson Avenue, 1526 Pennsylvania Avenue and 801 8th Street. According to the lawsuit, Belfiore and Olivieri developed three of the buildings in 2015 and remodeled the property on Pennsylvania Avenue, which was built in 1938.
Bernard Egozi, the lawyer representing Belfiore and Olivieri, declined comment. Royal’s owner Dan Schapiro did not respond to two emails requesting comment.
Belfiore notified Royal manager David Raposo in early May that the associations were terminating the management contracts, according to emails attached to the lawsuit. Royal’s website states that Raposo and Schapiro founded the property management company in 2006 to provide condo associations with “a boutique-style of management.”
“It’s clear that during the past two weeks Royal Management placed its own interests above its mandate and its representatives,” Belfiore wrote. “Several requests for information, documentation and action were addressed many times and ignored and left without response from Royal Management.”
Belfiore also accused Royal of breaching fiduciary commitments and refusing to disclose the financial interests of the associations’ vendors. He informed Schapiro that the condo boards hired a new company, Avantage Property Management, to take over maintenance duties in Miami Beach.
After publication, Avantage owner Belkis Mirabal denied Belfiore’s claims that her company had been hired. “They inquired about my services, but an actual contract has never been signed,” Mirabal said. “I never even got to give them a proposal.”
According to the lawsuit, Raposo failed to timely disclose that he has a financial interest in the associations’ insurance vendor because the company is owned by his spouse. Yet, Royal has “disregarded and consistently failed to acknowledge” the termination notices and has continued to act as the manager of the four associations, according to the suit.
“Further, Royal has undertaken efforts to remove plaintiffs from their positions as board members of the associations, defied plaintiffs’ decisions and instructions, and knowingly colluded with unit owners to create a new purported board,” the lawsuit states.