|By Beatrice E. Garcia, The Miami
HeraldMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
December 8, 2009 --A Miami-Dade circuit judge denied a request to appoint a receiver for The Grand Condominium Association, which controls a large residential, retail and hotel complex in downtown Miami.
Judge Jerald Bagley ruled from the bench after a two-day trial last week on a lawsuit brought by one of the unit owners at the Grand, Susan Cohn.
The lawsuit alleged that Pierre Heafey, who controls the retail and hotel units at the complex, had diverted association assets to entities Heafey controls including seven residential units valued at more than $2 million and charged expenses to the condo unit owners that should have been charged to all owners in the building.
"The judge found no evidence of fraud or waste," said Daniel Rosenbaum, a West Palm Beach attorney who represented the Grand's condo association.
The 43-story Grand, 1717 N. Bayshore Dr., consists of 1,210 units: 810 residential units, 141 retail units and 259 hotel units.
According to court documents, all the retail and hotel units are owned by PHR Retail and PH Hotel respectively. These two entities are controlled by Heafey.
"Pierre Heafey and his cohorts have illegally run The Grand to the absolute detriment of the 810 residential unit owners," according to court documents.
The lawsuit asked the court to appoint a receiver to run the condo association and remove the association's current board of directors as well as the building's property manager, management company and legal counsel.
"We certainly understand the judge's ruling in not wanting to burden the unit owners with the considerable expense of appointing a receiver at this time," said attorney Eric Glazer, who represented Cohn.
However, Judge Bagley did grant Cohn's motion to file an amended complaint. Glazer has filed a suit asking to recover more than $1.6 million in valet parking fees paid by the residential unit owners over the past 19 years.
Glazer is seeking class certification for the amended suit.
Glazer and Jeremy Zubkoff, who also worked on the case, said Cohn "doesn't anticipate filing an appeal to the judge's ruling on the receiver."
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