MIAMI, Fla., March 30, 2018 – As a final chapter in the futile five-year fight by the Williams Island Property Owners’ Association (“WIPOA”) to stop the development of the luxury condominium project Privé at Island Estates on the North Island of Dumfoundling Bay, WIPOA has agreed to pay Waldman Barnett clients, Privé Developers and Trust No. 75-LT-21 (the prior owner of the North Island) $21.6 million.
In January, after a seven-day trial, a jury determined that the WIPOA had violated a recorded agreement from 1982, which covenant’s prevented any objection to the development of the remaining two islands on the Interacoastal Waterway in Aventura. The jury also agreed that WIPOA’s lawsuit and its encouragement of others on the South Island to fight the development of Privé led to increased financing costs from non-traditional funding sources that equaled approximately $21 million for Waldman Barnett’s clients. In addition, $5 million in damages were alleged concerning the cost to carry the remaining unsold units, all attributed to the litigation started or encouraged by WIPOA. In response to these claims, the jury rendered a $26 million verdict on January 30.
On March 8, WIPOA voted to approve payment to Privé Developers and Trust No. 75-LT-21 $21.6 million by March 30, to cap the lawsuit and future action, including any right to appeal. At the same time, WIPOA reaffirmed in perpetuity the obligations under the recorded agreement.
“Both Privé and our firm are extremely gratified by the jury’s determination to give our clients what we asked for – $26 million to recoup what was lost by our clients during this protracted lawsuit,” said Glen Waldman, Waldman Barnett’s co-managing partner. “The fact that since the trial, the defendant has agreed to pay $21.6 million to avoid an appeal and further costs, speaks not only to the correctness of our position, both morally and factually, but also to the strength of the case we tried and the lack of any basis to overturn the jury’s determination. The message is simple: Honor the agreements you sign or pay the consequences if you blatantly disregard them. Privé is moving forward, unit owners are moving in, and the damage caused by Williams IslandWIPOA and others is in the rearview mirror.”
Waldman and co-managing partner, Eleanor Barnett, along with CPA, Barry Mukamal of Kapila Mukamal, LLP, wrote an analysis for Law360 regarding the case. The case also made headlines in the Daily Business Review, The Real Deal Miami, South Florida Business Journal and Law360.
Claims remain against some South Island residents for their prior interference efforts and Waldman Barnett continues to pursue those on behalf of Privé.