The Weekly Dirt: Why brokers get away with bad behavior

Investigation sheds light on industry-wide lack of enforcement

Weak Regulation of FL Real Estate Agents Fuels Bad Actors

For years, I’ve heard sources call Florida the “Wild Wild West” of real estate. 

In a months-long investigation that was published last week, I learned that out of the 18,400-plus complaints that were filed with the state between 2020 and 2023, just 9,800 were deemed legally sufficient. This means those were investigated by the state. And of those, just 47 agents had their licenses suspended. Just over 400 had their licenses revoked or relinquished. Some of these investigations are still ongoing, so those aren’t the final numbers. 

In one case , a top real estate agent in Palm Beach County sued for her commission in a deal. The judge determined that the litigation was based on “deceptive claims” and fraud perpetrated by her and the listing agent — who is her husband — and the brokerage they hang their licenses with. Essentially, the names of the buyer’s agents were modified on a sales contract without the buyer’s knowledge or consent, so that one agent could get an additional commission. 

Still, as the court system ruled against them, the state dismissed the complaints submitted to the regulatory agency, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. 

One person who filed a complaint with the state against those agents summed it up:  “They broke the law, they changed a contract, lied about it, passed it off,” she said. “The fact that the state won’t hold their licenses accountable … is deeply disappointing and demoralizing.” 

I make these points in the story, which are important: Because oversight is so limited, the buyers and sellers, some making the most important financial decisions of their lives, lack crucial information on who they are working with. And newer agents and brokers, who may operate outside the whisper network, are also left vulnerable. 

What we’re thinking about: The uptick in commercial foreclosures, developers plotting multifamily to condo conversions as condos remain the preferred asset class, and more. What’s on your mind? Send me a note at


Residential: Billionaire Jeff Bezos paid $87 million for the 10,000-square-foot, seven-bedroom, seven-bathroom mansion at 28 Indian Creek Island Road in Indian Creek. Former banker Javier Holtz sold the property. 

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Commercial: Boston-based Eaton Vance sold the Harbour Cove apartment complex in Pembroke Pines for $62.6 million. Atlanta-based Cortland bought the 240-unit community at 1601 South Hiatus Road. 


An 82-acre parcel in Wellington hit the market for $40 million. The property at 14052 50th Street South is located within the Equestrian Preserve and within a mile and a half of the show grounds. It’s on the market with Mayli Garcia-Velez of Equestrian Sotheby’s International Realty. Property records show a company managed by Agador Spartacus Development principal Alberto Dichi owns the land. 

Weak Regulation of FL Real Estate Agents Fuels Bad Actors
14052 50th Street South (Next Listing Studios for Equestrian Sotheby’s International Realty)

A thing we’ve learned 

Using DNA from tangerines and tobacco, scientists bioengineered the Instagrammable Pinkglow pineapple, a Fresh Del Monte creation, according to Wired

Elsewhere in Florida 

  • Coral Gables Mayor Vince Lago and City Manager Amos Rojas Jr. were involved in some kind of incident at City Hall last week, the Miami Herald reports. Lago, a real estate agent and construction executive, denied that any altercation occurred. A police investigation is underway. 
  • Actress Sydney Sweeney is reportedly buying an oceanfront mansion in South Florida that’s asking just under $20 million, according to TMZ. Page Six reported that Sweeney is paying $13.5 million for a home in the Florida Keys. 
  • Carillon developer Eric Sheppard was sentenced to one and a half years in prison for fraudulently securing hundreds of thousands of dollars of pandemic relief funds, the Miami Herald reports.
  • Walt Disney World secured initial approval for a $17 billion development plan spread over the next 10 to 20 years that could include a fifth theme park. It covers about 17,300 acres owned by Disney, according to the Orlando Sentinel