Florida Luxurious Properties sues ex-partner Julie Jones over Elliman jump

Jones, a part owner of the Broward firm, joined Elliman in June

Julie Jones (Getty)
Julie Jones (Getty)

A Fort Lauderdale brokerage is suing its co-owner, Julie Jones, who is now working with Douglas Elliman, alleging that she transferred millions of dollars worth of luxury home listings before she left the firm.

The lawsuit demonstrates how disputes can arise when an agent decides to switch firms, many times taking their listings – which belong to the original brokerage – with them. In this case, the agent also owns a stake in her former brokerage.

Jones left Florida Luxurious Properties to join Elliman as an agent in June. Jones owns 55 percent of Florida Luxurious Properties, and retained her ownership when she transferred her license to Douglas Elliman.

The lawsuit, filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court last month, alleges that Jones had a falling out in April with Benjamin Olive, then-co-manager of Florida Luxurious Properties, over her profit distributions and other money she alleges she was owed. She provided notice to the brokerage in May that she planned to leave the firm as an agent, according to the lawsuit, filed by Florida Luxurious Properties’ attorney, Daniel DeSouza of DeSouza Law.

Jones’ dollar volume last year totaled nearly $369 million, Elliman said in June. So far this year, she’s been involved in deals totaling $129.4 million, and had about $29 million more under contract when she joined Elliman. A top broker in Fort Lauderdale, she focuses on luxury sales of waterfront homes and condos.

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Olive, a real estate attorney who focuses on litigation, is managing partner of Fort Lauderdale-based Olive Judd, P.A.

Florida Luxurious Properties is alleging that between May and June 23, the day before Jones joined Elliman, she violated her fiduciary duties to the firm by telling a client that she would “no longer service their listing,” so that that client and other clients of hers would then hire Elliman after she left.

In the weeks before resigning, Jones “secured multiple listings for properties to sell that she never presented to [Florida Luxurious Properties] … opting instead to hold those listings until she transferred her license to Douglas Elliman,” the lawsuit alleges.

Jones did not respond to a request for comment. Elliman declined to comment through a spokesperson.

Florida Luxurious Properties alleges that it has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars’ — or millions of dollars’ — worth of income/commissions due to listing transfers. It claims that she has continued her conduct, “somehow apparently believing that she is free to destroy [Florida Luxurious Properties’] business so long as she is not a manager,” according to the suit.

The complaint also alleges that Jones tried to take over and lock the brokerage out of its own social media accounts, and is now competing against herself.