Real estate investor sues over sale of Galveston apartment complex

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Jun. 21, 2011, 5:38am

GALVESTON � Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services of Texas claims Prime Income Asset Management refuses to pay it commission for the sale of a Galveston apartment complex, recent court documents say.

A lawsuit filed June 8 in Galveston County Court at Law No. 3 argues that Prime Asset owes Marcus & Millichap a 50 percent commission upon the $13.7 million sale of the Marina Landing Resort Apartments to Odyssey Residential Holdings.

The property went on the market after it was damaged during Hurricane Ike. Marina Landing L.P., an affiliate company of Prime Asset and the apartments' original owner, enlisted the defendant as listing broker.

Marcus & Millichap introduced Prime Asset to eventual buyer Odyssey at some point in the weeks and months after Ike.

Such action prompted the defendants to enter into a simple fee agreement and buyer registration with the complainant in November 2008, the original petition says.

The fee agreement imposed Prime Asset to pay the 50 percent commission to Marcus & Millichap at closing.

Marina Landing signed an agreement for purchase and sale and joint escrow instructions with ORH Acquisitions II LLC, an assignee of Odyssey, in January 2009, reportedly consenting to a purchase price of $13,065,000 and a commission of $65,000 to Miller & Millichap's Jeffrey Fript upon the closing scheduled for Aug. 3, 2009.

The purchase agreement was extended numerous times between January 2009 and the start of 2011 to give Odyssey time to secure capital from investors, the suit states.

Odyssey and Marina Landing completed the transaction last Jan. 31, but Marcus & Millichap could not access the associated documentation to confirm the terms and, specifically, the purchase price of $13.7 million, the suit says.

It adds that references to Fript and his employer were "scrubbed from the final sales documents in an attempt to avoid paying the contractual commission of $68,500" and the defendants even allegedly demanded a signed waiver of the fee.

A jury trial is requested.

Beck, Redden & Secrest is representing the plaintiff, and Galveston County Court at Law No. 3 Judge Christopher Dupuy is presiding over the case.

Cause No. 65,437

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