UPDATED, Oct. 30, 3:35 p.m.: A plumbing supply mogul’s $10.4 million purchase of a condo on Fisher Island is at the center of a legal fracas involving three prominent Miami luxury brokers.
In a recently filed lawsuit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, Rose Bauer and her company Rivero Real Estate accuses brokers Dora Puig and Mayi de la Vega of going behind her back to deprive her of a 5 percent commission, or about $520,000, resulting from the sale of a four-bedroom, 4,904-square-foot unit at the boutique tower Palazzo Della Luna.
Bauer and Rivero are also suing the buyers and her former clients, Lehman Plumbing Supply founder and president Dennis Lehman, his wife Kelley Kosow, Puig’s company Fisher Island Real Estate and de la Vega’s brokerage One Sotheby’s International Realty.
David Haft, one of the attorneys representing Bauer and Rivero, said the defendants went through great lengths to deprive his clients of the commission. “It’s pretty incredible,” Haft said. “[Bauer and Rivero] were the ones left standing out of the circle. We believe they are entitled to that money. It is pretty cut and dry from where we are standing.”
De la Vega’s lawyer, Ed Guedes, said his client vehemently denies the allegations in Bauer’s complaint. “We are looking forward to the opportunity to establish quickly and very clearly the way they have represented the facts are not correct,” Guedes said.
Puig, Lehman and their attorneys did not respond to requests for comment.
However, in January, Puig and Fisher Island Real Estate sued Lehman and de la Vega to indemnify her and her company from any legal actions taken by Bauer and Rivero. A month later, Lehman sued Bauer and Rivero for fraudulent misrepresentation. Bauer and Rivero also filed an arbitration complaint with the Miami Association of Realtors shortly after Lehman and Kosow closed on their condo on Aug. 1, 2019.
According to Bauer’s complaint, she, along with Lehman and Kosow, signed a registration agreement with Fisher Island Real Estate on June 2, 2018, when the couple enlisted her to help them find their new marital home. The agreement, which is attached to the lawsuit, states Bauer and Rivero are the exclusive agents for Lehman and Kosow for the purchase of a unit at either tower.
At the time, Palazzo Della Luna was under construction. But its sister tower, Palazzo Del Sol, had been completed. Bauer’s complaint alleges that a Fisher Island Real Estate sales associate took them on a tour of Palazzo Del Sol while explaining that the floor plans and layouts of that tower’s units were identical to the ones for Palazzo Della Luna, the building where Lehman and Kosow wanted to buy a condo.
A month later, Bauer alleges, Lehman and Kosow sought to replace her with de la Vega without her knowledge or consent. Puig and Fisher Island Real Estate assisted Lehman and Kosow by drafting a second registration agreement with de la Vega and One Sotheby’s, making her and her brokerage the exclusive agent for a purchase at Palazzo Della Luna.
“At no time… did Puig ever communicate (or attempt to communicate) with Bauer regarding [Fisher Island Real Estate]’ s intent to disregard its own registration agreement or to replace plaintiffs with de La Vega and One Sotheby’s as the Lehman exclusive agent and broker in connection with their purchase of a unit,” the lawsuit states.
In Lehman’s lawsuit against Bauer and Rivero, he alleges that he spoke with Bauer’s business partner Larry Rivero, that she had never shown the couple units at Palazzo Della Luna, and that he wanted de la Vega to represent them prior to making the switch. Lehman’s lawsuit claims Larry Rivero contacted Fisher Island Real Estate to resolve any potential conflicts, which he did by agreeing that Bauer would only represent Lehman and Kosow on the sale of a unit at Palazzo Del Sol, and that de la Vega would represent the buyers on the sale of a unit at Palazzo Della Luna.