The Real Deal: Trump Doral to pay tenant’s legal fees tied to lease dispute

Doral resort will have to pay more than $2.5M in legal bills.

Trump National Doral Miami is running up an expensive tab in a long-running legal war it’s losing against Florida Pritikin Center, a rehabilitation spa leasing space at the luxury resort.

On Wednesday, the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed a 2017 final judgement ruling by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jose Rodriguez against Trump Endeavor 12, the entity that owns the Doral golf resort managed by Donald Trump Jr…

…By the time the bills are tallied up, Trump Endeavor will have to pay more than $2.5 million in attorney fees in its failed bid to evict the spa from a 40,000-square-foot-space at Trump Doral, said Pritikin’s lawyer, Philippe Lieberman, a partner with the Miami firm Kluger Kaplan Silverman Katzen and Levine.

“The exact amount will be determined by Judge Rodriguez in the next couple of months,” Lieberman said. “Our client is very happy. He is looking forward to putting this behind him and recovering his legal fees from Trump.”

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Trump Endeavor attorney Bruce Rogow did not respond to a request for comment.

Pritikin sued Trump Endeavor in June 2015, alleging breach of contract. According to court documents, Pritikin had a lease with the prior owner dating back to 2009 that was still in effect when Trump Endeavor purchased the golf resort in bankruptcy court three years later. The company affirmed the lease and Pritikin was forced to remain while the Trumps renovated the property, the lawsuit states.

“At that point, the property was in disrepair and bad condition,” Lieberman said. “Trump would not reduce the rent or allow Pritikin out of the lease. When the lease was up for renewal, it coincided with when construction was coming to a close. Trump wanted to bully us off the property.”

Pritikin’s lawsuit claims that Trump tried to increase a special room rate for Pritikin clients by 583 percent, would not replace worn-out refrigeration units in the spa, attempted to reject the tenant’s option to extend the lease until 2019 and tried to improperly terminate the agreement. “We resisted,” Lieberman said. “We pushed back.”

In February 2015, Rodriguez granted Pritikin declaratory relief, which forced Trump Endeavor to honor the lease, as well as decrease its clients’ room rates by 15 percent. The developer won a subsequent appeal to the Third District Court, which sent it back to Rodriguez to provide a better explanation as to why he ruled in Pritikin’s favor, Lieberman said.

“He did that in 38-page judgement filed in June 2017,” Lieberman said. “Trump appealed that judgement and the appellate court ruled in Pritikin’s favor this Wednesday.”

Read the full story in The Real Deal. 

Lawyers Represent Spa in ‘Bet-the-Company’ Case Against Donald Trump

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Alan Kluger, Philippe Lieberman and Richard Segal
Kluger Kaplan

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jose Rodriguez’s courtroom was packed with lawyers and reporters waiting to hear from the man on the witness stand: Celebrity developer and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“He is a very smart guy,” said veteran Miami litigator Alan Kluger. “He knew the record. He knew the documents. He is the classic ‘not always right, but never in doubt’.”

At issue was whether Trump acted legally in trying to force Florida Pritikin Center LLC, which operates as Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa, out of 40,000 square feet of leased space at his Trump National Doral golf resort.

Kluger, a founding member of Kluger Kaplan, represented Pritikin, along with his law firm partners Philippe Lieberman and Richard Segal.

They contended that Trump National wrongfully tried to terminate Pritikin’s lease and refused to acknowledge that Pritikin properly exercised its first option to extend the term of the lease. They also argued that Trump National falsely asserted claims of lease defaults and violated a group room agreement between the resort and Pritikin when the resort tried to increase daily room rates by between 226 and 583 percent.

“It was a bet-the-company case,” Kluger said. “If Pritikin was found to either have not have properly extended or was in default, they would have been out of business just as the season was at its height. Hundreds of employees would have been out of work.”

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