Real estate company seeks cut of Kmart church sale

David Yates Jun. 13, 2007, 12:00pm

Angry that it didn't receive its 3 percent cut from a $1.5 million contract, Prime Real Estate is suing Kmart and Christian Life Community Church.

Christian Life was the talk of the city of Groves when its pastor Rev. Benji Mullens purchased the former Super Kmart building on Twin City Highway two years ago. Mullens has stepped down as head pastor since then and the property is once again for sale.

However, that hasn't stopped Prime Real Estate from seeking its 3 percent cut. The company filed its original petition with the Jefferson County District Court on June 12. Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th Judicial District, will preside over the case.

According to the plaintiff's suit, in the latter part of June, July and August 2005, Prime was asked to assist the Christian Life "in an effort to purchase property located in Jefferson County, which was for sale by the Kmart. Plaintiff, by utilizing its efforts through Mozell Cobb, put together a sales package where the church could purchase the property and assisted in both negotiating and in obtaining a commercial contract."

Both the church and Kmart agreed that the Prime real estate agent would be paid a commission of 3 percent for her efforts in serving as the commercial buyer's representative as well as in finding a buyer for the seller, the suit said.

"Unknown to plaintiff, the two parties then got together and rewrote the contract excluding any payment for the services rendered by plaintiff in putting together the parties and assisting them in the sale of the property, which closed on August 15-17, 2005," the suit said. "Subsequent to the closing, plaintiff learned that the two parties had agreed among themselves not to pay the commission owed but to indemnify each other for the obligation to pay the brokerage's fee that had previously been agreed and discussed in negotiations."

Prime is seeking to recover $45,000 from the defendants, a payment it claims it was "deprived of for services
rendered," the suit said.

"Plaintiff is (also) entitled to recover reasonable and necessary attorney's fees, including for appeal, court costs, and pre- and post-judgment interest for which recovery is hereby sought," the suit said.

Prime is represented by attorney Richard Lewis of the Boneau & Lewis law firm.

Case No. B179-473

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