Javier Cervera wins lawsuit against hedge funder Mark Brodsky tied to Gables Estates mansion

At heart of case: $2.9M deposit on defunct sale, plus interest and attorney’s fees

Javier Cervera Wins Lawsuit Vs Hedge Funder Mark Brodsky
Javier Cervera and the Gables estate with excerpt of the lawsuit (Miami-Dade County Circuit Court)

In the fall of 2020, hedge fund manager Mark Brodsky did what many of his contemporaries in the finance and asset management worlds were beginning to do — search for a waterfront estate in South Florida. 

Brodsky, founder and chairman of New York-based Aurelius Capital Management, and his wife, Aurelius’ Chief Investment Officer Eleanor Chan, approached Javier and Jennifer Cervera with a $27 million offer to buy their mansion at 301 Arvida Parkway that was under construction in Coral Gables’ Gables Estates

A waterfront mansion on the same street traded that year for $49 million, a near-record for single-family home sales in Miami-Dade County. The gated waterfront community was recently considered the most expensive neighborhood in the country, Bloomberg reported, citing Zillow data.  

At the time, Javier Cervera, founder and president of Coral Gables-based Cervera Real Estate Ventures, wasn’t looking to sell. He and his wife began building their dream home in 2018, and it was nearing completion. But they negotiated with Brodsky, and accepted an offer to sell it in October 2020 for $28.5 million. 

Just before the scheduled closing, Brodsky terminated the contract on April 21, 2021, triggering his lawsuit in June 2021, and the Cerveras’ countersuit filed in July 2021 over the $2.85 million deposit for the house. Last week, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Thomas Rebull ruled in favor of the Cerveras, awarding the couple the deposit, plus interest, court costs and attorney’s fees, according to Rebull’s order. The total sum could reach or exceed $5 million.

Brodsky, referred to in a New York Times article as one of the “shrewdest hedge-fund managers of his generation,” alleged in his complaint that construction “lingered for months,” and that once completed, the Cerveras failed to correct defective punch-list items, violating the contract.

The judge found that Brodsky didn’t present an actionable punch list, and that the home was built in “substantial accordance with the Construction Documents,” according to their contract. 

Jorge Fors Jr. of Fors Attorneys at Law

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The Cerveras’ attorney, Jorge Fors Jr. of Fors Attorneys at Law, said the judge’s order boosts confidence for buyers and sellers “that the contracts they sign will be upheld.” He said nothing was wrong with the house. 

“If you do want to require perfection, the contract has to require perfection,” he said. 

Court documents also allege that after signing the contract for the Gables Estates home,  Brodsky began to aggressively pursue the $25 million to $29 million purchase of a waterfront mansion in Hobe Sound, just north of Palm Beach County. 

Brodsky’s attorney, Joy Spillis Lundeen of Bilzin Sumberg, declined to comment. Brodsky did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

“If Mr. Brodsky had been permitted to cancel the contract,” said Fors, a former Coral Gables commissioner, “then it would create a lot of doubt for buyers and sellers in the market as to how late in the game, when you have gone hard, you can get out of the contract.” 

Cervera, who is living in the mansion with his family, said it wasn’t about the money, and that he “prefers not to enter into litigation.” His firm primarily invests in shopping centers, and is separate from the Brickell-based Cervera Real Estate brokerage that his mother Alicia Cervera and sisters Veronica Cervera Goeseke and Alicia Cervera Lamadrid own and operate. 

“The other party tried to not perform on their commitment, discredited my efforts and performance, and the fruit of my labor,” he said, regarding Brodsky. “I decided I needed to undertake the very strenuous and arduous task of righting a wrong at considerable risk, because nothing is guaranteed.”

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