Jockey Club unit owners hit with $347K judgment in suit tied to common areas

Judge found condo association didn’t pay maintenance fees, did unpermitted work on pool 

Jockey Club Condo Loses Suit Against Developer Doron Arad
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Lisa Walsh and 11111 Biscayne Boulevard in Miami-Dade County (Google Maps, Judge Lisa Walsh)

A Jockey Club condo association was hit with a $347,000 judgment tied to its lawsuit 

against the owner of the common areas, marking the latest chapter in the nearly decade-long legal saga. 

The waterfront Jockey Club consists of three condo towers on 22 acres at 11111 Biscayne Boulevard in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, near North Miami. The towers sit on a total of 8 acres. Investor and developer Doron Arad, through his Doron Jockey Club entity, owns the remaining 14 acres consisting of the common areas. 

An aerial of the Jockey Club development consisting of three condo buildings at 11111 Biscayne Boulevard in Miami-Dade County

The 22-story, 169-unit Jockey Club I tower and Arad’s affiliate have been locked in numerous lawsuits since at least 2016. While they each have made various claims against the other, their dispute is largely over maintenance fees for the common areas and Arad’s potential development of a fourth tower. 

In the latest outcome, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Lisa Walsh ruled in favor of Arad’s affiliate’s claims that Jockey Club I failed to pay its share of maintenance costs for the common areas since 2021, wrongfully took over a parking lot that is part of Arad’s property, did unpermitted electrical work at the pool, and failed to pay property taxes for the pool area since at least 2020. The total judgment is for $347,392, with the biggest share of that, nearly $281,000, for unpaid maintenance fees. 

Walsh entered her order late last month, following a three-day non-jury trial held last summer. 

The order stems from Jockey Club I’s 2022 lawsuit alleging that Doron Jockey had breached a 2020 settlement between the two sides that required Doron Jockey to complete 24 capital improvement items on the common areas and maintain the property in a “first class manner.” Doron Jockey failed to complete nearly all of the listed items, including repairing potholes on roads and demolishing an unsafe structure, according to the complaint. Jockey Club I maintains it wasn’t on the hook for costs for any of the 24 capital improvement items, and had paid its share for ongoing maintenance. 

In its counterclaim to Jockey I’s 2022 lawsuit, Doron Jockey has a different view. 

“There was a settlement agreement pursuant to which all of these things should have been done and accomplished,” said Christopher Smart, Doron Jockey’s attorney. But the association “chose for whatever reason to go against their agreement. They brought the lawsuit. Here they are a couple of years later, spent all this money on behalf of unit owners, and they ended up owing Doron Jockey money.” 

Despite the 2020 settlement, Jockey Club I has refused to reimburse Doron Jockey for $26,050 in common areas maintenance expenses from 2020 to 2021, and hasn’t attended shared facilities committee meetings a court had mandated the association hold with Doron Jockey, according to Doron Jockey’s complaint. Also, Jockey Club I violated the confidentiality provision of the 2020 settlement, the suit says. 

In previous court filings, Jockey Club I had argued it shouldn’t have to pay anything toward the common areas’ maintenance until Doron Jockey completes the 24 capital improvement items, according to Doron Jockey’s suit. Doron Jockey had claimed in court that 11 of the 24 items were either finished or in the process of being completed. 

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Arad took ownership of the common areas in 2021. Apeiron, led by Muayad “Mo” Abbas and Michael Bedner, had bought the property in 2014, with plans to build a 40-story, 120-unit tower. Following a dispute between Abbas and Bedner in 2020, Apeiron went into receivership and Arad took over the entity in 2021, renaming it to Doron Jockey. 

Through it all, disputes with the association were ever-present. 

Jockey Club I and II had sued Apeiron in 2016 to stop Apeiron’s planned development proposal and its alleged takeover of the maintenance and operation of the common areas. The court sided with Apeiron, in part citing a 1995 agreement the associations had signed with the original Jockey Club developer. Under the agreement, Apeiron had the right to pursue the project, and the associations had no ownership claim to the common areas. The associations only had an easement that allowed them to maintain this property if its owner failed to do so, the court ruled in 2020.

A separate order in the case issued in 2019 also determined that Apeiron wasn’t maintaining the shared facilities “in the manner contemplated by the spirit and letter of” a previous court judgment, but also shot down the association’s claim it wasn’t required to pay toward the cost of maintenance. Under the order, Apeiron was on the hook for 33 percent of the maintenance cost, and the three condo towers’ associations were on the hook for 67 percent of the cost, according to Doron Jockey’s counterclaim. The court also said Doron Jockey and the associations should establish a committee to run the maintenance and operation of the common areas.

Walsh’s recent order shot down Jockey Club I’s count for breach of contract, alleging Doron Jockey failed to complete the 24 maintenance items, and that the association wasn’t required to contribute toward the cost. The judge also rejected Jockey Club I’s mandatory injunction count to force Doron Jockey to complete the 24 capital improvements. 

But it wasn’t all a loss for Jockey Club I. 

Jockey Club I did score some wins, as Walsh rejected Doron Jockey’s claims that a contractor retained by the condo association bore a hole in the seawall, damaging it. The judge also shot down Doron Jockey’s claims that the association had illegally installed two air conditioning production wells and another two air conditioning discharge wells on the common area. 

“We are very pleased with the decision with respect to the wells, which are critically important to the lifeblood of Jockey Club,” said Glen Waldman, attorney for Jockey Club I. “We are a little disappointed with some of her findings and are evaluating our options.” 

Because “Doron failed to live up to certain of [its] obligations, which predated the obligations we had, we believe those first breaches by Doron nullify the claims that the court found in [its] favor.” 

Walsh’s order didn’t address Doron Jockey’s counterclaim seeking to stop opposition to a fourth tower. 

Arad still is evaluating the project, and it’s unclear whether he would pursue the original proposal for a 40-story, 120-unit tower, Doron Jockey’s attorney Smart said. Arad also is evaluating whether the fourth tower would be apartments or condos, and already is working on a marina at Jockey Club. 

“Things change in real estate a great deal, and that [original project] plan was proposed back in 2014,” he said. “It’s already been 10 years.”