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Miami Developer Emerges Victorious in Real Estate Lawsuit With Help of TA PLLC

The conclusion of multi-year litigation on multiple fronts has allowed the defendant to resume their business activities.

The team of attorneys at TA PLLC recently emerged victorious in a complex legal case regarding a high-value residential real estate project in South Florida. With an estimated worth of tens of millions of dollars, the featured the collaborative expertise of partners from the firm’s real estate and litigation departments, who skillfully navigated through a series of intricate challenges that persisted over a period of almost two years. Despite the numerous obstacles, the attorneys at TA PLLC ultimately achieved a resounding triumph for their client, Vanfu Holdings LLC.

Vanfu Holdings LLC, a Miami-based developer, was represented by TA PLLC in a dispute brought by Yanser Robaina, a minority member and manager. The developer was working on a community of single-family homes near Homestead and Robaina had been appointed to manage the project’s development. Vanfu and Robaina had agreed to split the profits from the development. However, after over three years, the project was barely a quarter of the way developed. The majority member of Vanfu decided to remove Robaina as the manager, which Robaina strongly disagreed with. Robaina immediately filed a lawsuit against Vanfu, seeking almost $2 million for his alleged contributions to the development.

“Vanfu was essentially playing whack-a-mole in trying to rid itself of liens filed against the project by Robaina and his associates,” says TA PLLC partner Alexander Salinas. “As soon as Vanfu successfully sought judicial intervention to dissolve a lien, another would spring up out of nowhere.”

Alexander Salinas

Instead of allowing Vanfu to complete the project and share the profits, Robaina chose to take an aggressive legal stance. He aimed to pressure Vanfu into buying him out on his terms.

Within two years, Robaina and his associates filed at least five distinct liens against the project, which caused a standstill. Due to the Robaina liens, no sales were made as buyers were unwilling to buy while the liens were in effect, and no underwriter was willing to “insure over” them. As a result, many purchasers withdrew from their purchase contracts.

After successfully dissolving the first lien, the TA PLLC team encountered another lien just a few weeks later. This second lien was filed by SFMBR Holdings, a brokerage connected to one of Robaina’s long-term business partners. The lien was related to a contract that Robaina allegedly signed for Vanfu despite needing more authority and not receiving approval from most members. The second lien was filed less than a month after Robaina’s removal and the earlier lis pendens.

The legal team of TA PLLC advised their client to initiate a separate, private arbitration with a panel of three arbitrators as per the AAA Commercial Arbitration Rules to dissolve the liens filed by SFMBR and take an offensive approach. SFMBR had filed at least four different lien filings, including one on the threshold of an order dissolving its liens. The team encountered a significant obstacle when their client’s lender filed a foreclosure action against the project while they were fighting to remove the unauthorized liens. During the entire foreclosure process, TA PLLC negotiated hard to keep the lender at bay.

Following a series of legal successes by TA PLLC on behalf of Vanfu, which included a ruling by the arbitrator panel that dissolved all liens, Robaina was left with few options but to resign from Vanfu at no cost to the company. As a result, he abandoned any economic stake he had in the project.

“It is extremely rewarding, and we are very pleased to deliver such a great result for the client after a long, hard battle,” Ari M. Tenzer says (pictured in main photo), the founder of the firm and the real estate partner for the matter. “We were fortunate to have a client who had the appetite to see this to the finish line and allow us to pull out all the stops from a litigation strategy perspective.”

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky

Editor-in-Chief

BIOGRAPHY

Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.