The luxury real estate market in South Florida can make or break a real estate agent's career. With homes selling in the millions, it is a cut-throat profession where only the best survive. As the Miami Herald reports, one real estate agents desire to snuff out the competition has him facing time for extortion, resisting arrest and other charges.
A South Florida real estate agent is now facing criminal charges in an investigation stemming from allegations of blackmail. Kevin Tomlinson of Florida was a luxury real estate agent and one of the many agents competing with the super-duo known as the Jills for top agent status. The Jills, Jill Eber and Jill Hertzberg, have been a long time all-star selling team for South Florida luxe real estate. In the highly competitive world of real estate, many agents admit to doing what is necessary to close the deal. Tomlinson is accusing the Jills of manipulating the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) by hiding their out of contract listing from other agents.
Tomlinson, who claims to have known about the duo's tactics, approached them in an attempt to blackmail the Jills for $800,000 in return for not going public with their MLS scheme. The Jills began taping the phone conversations they had with Tomlinson, and they are now evidence in the extortion case filed against him. When police arrived at Tomlinson's home, he was reportedly shouting at the officers and resisting arrest. At one point, Tomlinson even attempted to grab an officer's gun. He was placed under arrest and now faces charges of felony extortion, resisting arrest and depriving an officer of his weapon.
While Tomlinson's attempt at a shakedown was unsuccessful, fellow real estate agents have now called for disciplinary action against the Jills. It is unknown what will come of Tomlinson's claims against the Jills, but the potential loss of three of the area's top agents could change the current real estate landscape of South Florida.
For the average homebuyer, the tactics that real estate agents use to make a sale usually go unnoticed and are of no concern unless they impact your finances or well-being. For individuals that have been adversely affected by these tactics, speaking to an attorney may be beneficial.
Source: The Miami Herald, "Secret tapes, blackmail threat: Luxe real-estate rivalry turns nasty in Miami," David Ovalle & Nicholas Nehamas, Nov. 2, 2015