Brokers sue over $784K commission on Lennar-Linked Purchase

Onx Homes allegedly stiffed a pair of South Florida commercial brokers out of a $784,000 commission tied to a Lennar land bank’s recent $19.6 million purchase, according to a new lawsuit. 

Coral Gables-based Lawrence Deddy and West Palm Beach-based Douglas James Kirlan sued an Onx affiliate in Miami-Dade Circuit Court. The March 22 complaint alleges that Deddy and Kirlan worked on the deal to sell 19.3 acres in southwest Miami-Dade County on behalf of Onx.

Last month, Onx sold the development site to New York-based Jen Partners, a firm that banks land for Miami-based Lennar

The lawsuit marks the first time that Deddy and Kirlan go to court in an effort to collect a commission, said their attorney Paul Shelowitz. 

“The significant commission at issue is owed, and Onx knows it,” Shelowitz said. “Our clients are veteran real estate brokers in this community with a combined 80-plus years of experience. They intend to obtain a judgment and collect in full against all responsible parties.”

An Onx spokesperson did not respond to an email request for comment. 

Onx hired Deddy and Kirlan two years ago to identify potential sites for acquisition and to also market Onx-owned properties for sale, the lawsuit states. The homebuilder allegedly agreed to pay the brokers a 4 percent commission regardless if  they represented Onx on the buying or selling side.

Shortly after hiring the brokers, an Onx executive asked Deddy for his opinion on the value of the 19.3 acres. Deddy replied that “the best way to procure a true market value for the property was to approach the ‘most likely buyer,’ Lennar,” the lawsuit states.

Onx gave Deddy and Kirlan the green light to engage with Lennar, with whom they both have a “longstanding and excellent relationship,” the lawsuit states. 

In December 2022, Onx instructed Deddy and Kirlan to inform Lennar to “hold off” from making an offer because Onx was concerned about the prospect of selling the property at a loss, the lawsuit states. Onx had purchased 21 acres for $19.9 million in 2022 and did not include roughly 1.7 acres in the deal with Lennar’s land bank, records show.

Onx then stopped communicating with the brokers and unbeknownst to them, the homebuilder began dealing with Lennar directly to sell the 19.3 acres for $19.6 million, the complaint alleges. 

“In directly contacting Lennar, Onx knowingly and intentionally excluded brokers from the negotiations in a bad faith effort to avoid paying brokers their duly earned 4 percent commission,” the lawsuit alleges. “Prior to filing this suit, brokers demanded in writing that Onx confirm its obligation to pay the commission it owes to no avail.”

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