Long-running Miami Worldcenter lawsuit may be revived

A rendering of the Miami Worldcenter.
A rendering of the Miami Worldcenter. Miami Worldcenter

Miami real estate super-broker Edie Laquer will get another shot at a long-running lawsuit alleging that Miami Worldcenter principal Art Falcone cut her out of a partnership on the massive, mixed-use project in downtown’s Park West district.

A state appeals court ruled Monday that an arbitrator in a separate lawsuit over a bank foreclosure on the Worldcenter property had overstepped his bounds when he made findings of fact on the original suit, which was filed in 2008. The arbitrator’s findings led a Miami-Dade circuit judge to throw out Laquer’s claims last fall, effectively ending her case.

The new ruling will allow Laquer, a prominent real estate broker who has filed several suits against developers in recent years, to seek a jury trial, her attorney Paul Morris said.

In court filings, Laquer said she invested $1.6 million and acquired a 10 percent stake in the project before Falcone booted her from the partnership in late 2007, charges which Falcone’s attorneys have previously denied.

A spokesman for the Worldcenter declined to comment on the latest developments. The $1.2 billion project will create an upscale mall and luxury condo tower between historically black Overtown to the west and gentrifying Biscayne Boulevard to the east.

The publicly subsidized, 27-acre complex has been stymied at points by community opposition and lawsuits but is on track to break ground by mid-2015, developers say.

In the meantime, Laquer said she wants her day in court. “I look forward to pursuing what I created and what as a partner is rightfully mine,” she said.