A former top employee for Coral Gables-based developer Astor Companies is accusing its owner, Henry Torres, of creating a hostile work environment, of falsely accusing her of forging documents, and of not paying her roughly $1.1 million in commissions.
Roza Radkiewicz, who worked six years at Astor until December 2019, recently sued the company, three Astor affiliates, Torres and his wife Nilda Torres in Miami-Dade Circuit Court.
Astor’s attorney, Thomas Ward, said the company does not comment on pending litigation.
Radkiewicz’s lawyer, Michael Schlesinger, said in an emailed statement, “My client seeks to recover the sums that are long overdue for services she successfully rendered for the defendants.”
According to the lawsuit, Radkiewicz rose up in the company from a contracts administrator to in-house sales director and co-owner of Astor Real Estate Group, a brokerage she and Torres set up to sell units at residential projects built by Astor, including Merrick Manor, a 10-story, 227-unit condo building at 301 Altara Avenue in Coral Gables.
“Roza continued to work for the Astor Companies despite not being paid all commission she was owed,” the lawsuit claims. “As a loyal employee, and as a partner of AREG, Roza believed that the Astor Companies would honor its agreements and pay Roza the commissions she was owed.”
In addition to not paying her full commissions, Torres consistently made unilateral decisions to deduct her commissions, such as taking off $52,410 owed to her in order to pay another agent’s draws on Dec. 21, 2017, Radkiweicz alleges in the suit. Astor also allegedly failed to compensate her for unused paid time off, and Torres allegedly often rejected her PTO requests.
According to the lawsuit, Torres and his wife, Nilda, who is not an employee, created an extremely hostile and abusive work environment for Radkieweicz. Torres allegedly verbally abused Radkieweicz loudly in front of co-workers on numerous occasions and made a habit of slinging derogatory and insulting comments at her in front of employees, the lawsuit claims.
“These comments would often leave Roza, a partner of AREG, humiliated in front
of those who worked with and under her,” the lawsuit states. “Even more humiliating for Roza was having to constantly beg Torres to be paid the commissions she rightfully earned, especially as she was producing very well, and more importantly, as she was an equal partner of AREG.”
Things got so bad that Radkiweicz installed a camera on top of her desk to record her meetings and conversations with Torres. On Dec. 6, 2019, Radkiweicz was terminated via a company-wide email from Astor’s human resources manager and Torres’ sister Marlene Torre Muñoz. The lawsuit alleges that the email stated she was terminated for ‘falsification of records.’”
“This termination based upon false premises was clearly taken by Torres in
retaliation against Roza for her raising issues regarding the commission structures,” the lawsuit alleges.