A $1MM+ Lesson in a Real Estate Auction for South Florida Oceanfront Mansions

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on October 24, 2013

Real estate can be brutal. Why do you think having a dedicated and experienced attorney on your side can ensure the best possible outcomes? Surely, this particular NASCAR owner by the name of Gene Haas thought it would be just fine to attend an auction for two mansions initially owned by Robert and
Steven Fox, two brothers comfortably living right on the ocean.Money

Haas was wrong. While going through the Lake Worth developer Albert Wadsworth as his proxy, the real estate auction went while, the price driven up to the $20MM mark. But not just for one mansion – for both. The end result was, of course, favorable for the Fox brothers, sitting on the prospect of both mansions selling for a total of $24MM easy, handed over to the Nascar owner. There was just one problem –

Haas actually reneged on his bid, pulling out of the running. Legally, that could result in dire consequences for the bidder. It, in fact, did for Haas as he faced a ruling by a Miami-Dade judge, ordering him to fork over the costs of the deposit of both mansions, plus interest. He was looking at more than $1MM to pay, just for pulling out of the auction after winning it.

Why did he pull out? Perhaps it was an issue of miscommunication. It often can be a problem when sending in a proxy to do your bidding during an auction. Whatever the case, when making real estate deals, be sure to follow through. The law is the law.

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