A Miami commercial broker is suing his former firm, alleging the company illegally accessed his email account and list of contacts.
Stefano Santoro filed the lawsuit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court earlier this month against Miami-based Apex Capital Realty, Miguel Pinto and Martin Bravo, alleging “the theft of trade secrets” and intellectual property. Santoro was recently hired by Current Real Estate Advisors to lead its Miami office as managing partner.
Both Santoro and Pinto declined to comment.
Santoro, previously an independent contractor working for Apex, is seeking damages in excess of $30,000. He’s alleging that Apex’s use of his email contact list equates to the firm and its principals using trade secrets. He joined Apex in June 2019 and left in July of this year.
As part of his agreement with Apex, Santoro, through his company Meatball LLC, collected 75 percent of the commissions he made, while Apex kept 25 percent, according to the documents attached to the suit. For any listing or sales referrals made by the broker, the broker would collect a 50 percent referral fee before the commission split.
The complaint states that Pinto and Bravo downloaded Santoro’s 6,000-plus contact list without Santoro’s consent after he left the brokerage. It alleges that Pinto and Bravo, through what the complaint states is their “alter ego,” Apex, have been sending out publicity emails to his contact list to “solicit his customers’ real estate business for themselves.”
At Apex, Santoro worked on deals that included the $40 million sale of an oceanfront Miami Beach development site, as well as a Wynwood assemblage that L&L Holding Company and Carpe Real Estate Partners are under contract to purchase. He worked on four deals over the course of the year while he hung his license at Apex, the lawsuit alleges.