Jockey Club residents reignite lawsuit against next-door landowner
Latest suit surrounds maintenance and improvement of common areas
Residents of the Jockey Club near North Miami sued the owner of land within the condominium complex, alleging he failed to improve and maintain common areas.
The suit reignites a long-running legal dispute — that was seemingly put to rest in 2020 — between residents of one of the three towers at the complex and the owner of 13 vacant acres that are part of the 22-acre site on the northeast corner of Biscayne Boulevard and Northeast 111th Street.
Apeiron, led by Muayad “Mo” Abbas and Michael Bedner, previously was the longtime owner of the vacant land and had planned a 40-story, 120-unit fourth tower. Doron Arad’s Doron Jockey Club took over Apeiron as part of separate litigation among the project partners.
In the new case, residents of the building called Jockey I sued Doron Jockey Club over allegedly not completing a majority of 24 capital improvements and maintenance items on the common areas that it was mandated to complete under an August 2019 order and a September 2020 settlement stemming from the previous litigation. Jockey I, as well as Jockey II and III, were supposed to cover 67 percent of the work costs, and Doron, 33 percent. Jockey I said in the suit it has been paying its share of the costs.
The suit was filed on Jan. 14 in Miami-Dade Circuit Court.
The work includes repairing and re-striping parking lots; repairing a fountain on the property; landscaping; installation of new lighting at the tennis courts, front gate and shared roadways; and maintaining the playground, according to court records.
“The people who live there pay a lot of money to live there, and it is a beautiful place, but it looks terrible” because Doron is not doing the repairs, said Jockey I’s attorney Glen Waldman.
In court filings, Doron Jockey countered that 11 of the 24 items were either finished or in the process of completion. A proposal was offered for alternative methods to address 12 of the items, and an agreement was reached on one other item. Also, Doron Jockey argued that it has held numerous meetings to discuss improvements to the common areas. It said the residents of Jockey I declined to attend, and have not paid their share of the costs and have trespassed on Doron’s land, according to court filings.
“Jockey I has litigated continuously since 1995 — more lawsuits than you can count on your fingers — and it has lost at nearly every turn,” a spokesperson for the law firm Carlton Fields, which represents Doron Jockey Club, said in an emailed statement. “This lawsuit is just the next iteration of the same arguments Jockey I has been asserting for decades. Doron has hosted monthly meetings to discuss how to improve the Jockey Club property and has gone above and beyond its legal obligations to try to live peaceably as neighbors.”
In 2016, Jockey I and Jockey II sued Doron Jockey’s predecessor, Apeiron, to stop the development of a fourth condominium, arguing that it would be in violation of two agreements. One agreement was made in 1977 between the Jockey II association and the original complex developer, Jockey Club Inc., allowing the construction of the third tower but prohibiting further development on the site. The second, 1995 agreement, was between the original developer and all three towers’ associations, giving them the right to maintain the common areas.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge John Thornton in 2017 ruled that the 1977 agreement did not apply to Apeiron, while the rest of the claims went to trial. The judge concluded the associations can’t claim that development of the land is precluded, although he added that all sides should have a say in the plans.
As part of the case, the judge also issued the August 2019 order listing the 24 maintenance items.
Apeiron also won in 2020 an appeal by Jockey I and Jockey II of some of the judge’s rulings in the trial court.
The Jockey Club was completed in 1982. Apeiron bought the 13 acres in 2014 for $3.3 million.
Carlton Fields declined to comment on whether Arad will pursue Apeiron’s plan.