An arbitrator involved in litigation between two developers for Miami Worldcenter and a commercial broker ruled recently in the developers’ favor even though attorneys for the broker say the arbitrator’s award cannot be used against her in pending litigation.
The long delayed project in a blighted area of Miami, the Park West neighborhood, is to become 750,000-square-feet of mixed-use development, including a Bloomingdale’s and a Macy’s.
The broker sat out the final hearing of the arbitration case to avoid weakening her position in the pending litigation in Miami-Dade’s Circuit Court. The arbitrator decided in April that the developers had not broken agreements or breached duties to the broker, who claimed that the developer was duty bound to stop foreclosures on the parcels. Instead, a developer allowed the lender to repossess them before buying them back again through different business entities. The arbitrator ruled that “there was no fiduciary or confidential relationship between [the developer] and [the broker].”
An attorney for one of the developers asserted that the arbitration findings certainly can be used in the litigation pending in the courts. Despite being subpoenaed to appear, the broker failed to show for the final hearing where 107 exhibits were produced and 15 witnesses were introduced.
The arbitrator also ruled that the developer “was not introduced to the Miami Worldcenter concept by [the broker] nor was he enamored with [her] ‘concept.’ Rather, the [developer] entities acquired parcels in Park West area before [he] met [her].” The broker was dismissive about the findings, claiming that she saw potential in the area as far back as 1999 when a bulletproof vest was necessary when walking through the neighborhood.
An attorney for one of the developers feels that the arbitration award will be considered binding and precludes one from taking a contrary position in a courtroom, as the same issues will be present. One developer plans to seek almost a million dollars in legal fees from the broker.
If you are facing financial challenges and are unsuccessful in stopping foreclosure proceedings on your own properties, a Miami bankruptcy attorney may be able to help you keep your financial house afloat.
Source: Daily Business Review, “Arbitration Heats Up Miami Worldcenter Litigation” John Pacenti, May. 16, 2014