Connecticut man alleges Texas real estate broker withheld payments

By Annie Hunt | Feb 5, 2016

GALVESTON — A Connecticut man is suing a licensed broker in Texas, alleging withholding rent and security deposits regarding a Galveston property.

Dennis J. Hein filed a lawsuit Feb. 2 in the Galveston County District Court against Phillip Lee “Shy” Shinalt, alleging breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.

Hein is the owner of a residential property at 7308 Ave. R, Galveston. According to the complaint, the plaintiff and defendant entered into a residential leasing and property management agreement, under which terms the defendant was hired by Hein as a broker, licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission, with the responsibilities of collecting and depositing rents, security deposits and other funds related to the property in a trust account.

The suit says Shinalt failed to remit any payments between January and May 2015, even though the tenant of the property remitted several cashier’s checks to the defendant over the period. The defendant was provided with notice of termination April 27, pursuant to the agreement, the suit says.

By Oct. 30, the suit alleges, Shinalt never paid $5,400 in rent paid by the tenant, $2,700 from a security deposit paid by the tenant, and $2,600 paid by the previous tenant.

Hein seeks actual damages, exemplary damages, attorney fees, pre and post-judgment interest and a trial by jury. He is represented by attorneys Roger G. Jain and Thomas H Smith III of Roger G. Jain & Associates PC in Houston.

Galveston County District Court Case number 16-CV-0138

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