Shoma Group HQ faces foreclosure over allegedly unauthorized construction: lawsuit

Maria Lamas is seeking to collect nearly $5M in loan debt

Miami /
Sep.September 02, 2021 09:45 AM
 Shoma Group CEO Masoud Shojaee and his company's headquarters at 201 Sevilla Avenue in Coral Gables (Shoma, Google Maps)

Shoma Group CEO Masoud Shojaee and his company’s headquarters at 201 Sevilla Avenue in Coral Gables (Shoma, Google Maps)

Shoma Group built a new glass-encased rooftop lounge at the company’s Coral Gables headquarters without permits and without authorization from the company’s co-founder Maria Lamas, according to a recently filed foreclosure lawsuit.

Lamas is exercising a clause in the $6 million mortgage that she holds, which allows her to declare default against a Shoma affiliate for conducting new construction without her consent, the suit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court this week, states.

She is seeking $4.9 million in principal, default interest, late charges and attorney fees against LSA Property Holdings LLC, the entity that owns the five-story office building at 201 Sevilla Avenue. She provided the loan in 2018.

Lamas, formerly Maria Shojaee, is the ex-wife of Masoud Shojaee, president and chairman of Shoma Group. The former couple founded Shoma in 1988 and lasted almost 30 years together. They divorced in 2018.

Shoma developments currently in the works include Ten30, a 43-unit, four-story condo building, at 1030 15th Street in Miami Beach, and Shoma Village, a mixed-use apartment project with a food hall component in Hialeah.

Recently, Lamas bought the Venetian Apartments in Coral Gables for $8.2 million.

Masoud Shojaee is also engaged in familial legal battles with his adult daughters whom he shares with Lamas. Trusts benefiting Anelise and Lilibet Shojaee are suing a Shoma affiliate that has a stake in the company’s Sanctuary at Doral mixed-use project. Another trust benefitting the Shojaee scions is suing their father personally and two of his companies. Both lawsuits were filed last year and are still pending.

Exhibits attached to Lamas’ lawsuit include an Aug. 19 code enforcement violation warning letter from the city of Coral Gables that states that the Shoma affiliate added the rooftop lounge without obtaining permits and inspections. According to the letter, code enforcement officers would return on Sept. 18 to reinspect the property. They will also make sure the Shoma affiliate took corrective action by getting the necessary permits for the exterior alterations, plumbing, mechanical and electrical work.

In an email, Shoma’s general counsel, Frank Silva, said the “violations were timely resolved with the city, and the property is in compliance.” Lamas’ lawsuit “arises from a personal family dispute, which is being addressed by such family members,” Silva added.

Sergio Mendez, the lawyer for Lamas, disputed Silva’s comments in an emailed statement. He said the foreclosure lawsuit shall proceed, and that the code violations are still under review. Coral Gables code enforcement records for the office building are not immediately available.

“The rooftop enclosed sky lobby is an illegal structure that was constructed and modified without Ms. Lamas’ prior written approval,” Mendez said. “This constitutes an event default of the mortgage.”

A virtual online tour of 201 Sevilla Avenue shows off the new rooftop area. The air-conditioned enclosed lounge features floor-to-ceiling glass walls and doors and a lavish stone floor. The open-air sections of the roof feature large stone tiles.

In addition to not obtaining permits, all of the work was done without her prior consent, Lamas’ complaint alleges. She claims Shoma affiliate LSA is required to seek her permission for any new construction per the terms of the mortgage.





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