Business partners seek split, squabble over $2M in Tampa-area property profits

in Local Courts by

Breaking up his hard to do and – in at least one case – extremely expensive.

Business partners are splitting up after one began taking steps to end the business venture, while allegedly scamming the other out of nearly $2 million in the process.

When the housing market crashed in 2008, Jamal Abadi, 41, and Larry Cox, 73, began working together. The pair met through Abadi’s wife, who worked for Cox at Castle Carpet One.

Abadi is a licensed Real Estate Appraiser, and Cox expressed an interest in investing in properties throughout the Tampa Bay area.

In the lawsuit, filed Oct. 17, Cox is accused of breaching the Joint Venture Agreement, breach of fiduciary duty, declaratory judgment, fraudulent misrepresentation and unjust enrichment.

To settle the suit, Abadi is requesting a jury trial.

The suit claims that through the terms of the partnership, Cox would supply money and Abadi would acquire and renovate properties. The two partners would sell and split profits 50/50.

The agreement was made via email, creating a Joint Venture Agreement.

As equal partners, Abadi only took a 5 percent management fee for his role as property manager. Typically, property managers earn 10 percent, plus rental placement fees, which Abadi also waived.

In May 2015, Cox began the process of ending end the partnership, starting with paying Abadi a 10 percent management fee.

For nearly two years, all properties existed under LDC Investments, owned by Cox. In 2011, Adams, LLC was formed. JSMJ Ventures, controlled by Cox and his wife, owned the company.

Four other companies were created by the partners to hold purchased properties: JALC One, JALC Two, JALC Three, and JALC Four. Each JALC Entity holds one property. Seven Star Property Management was formed to manage all properties they purchased.

Rent for the properties was equally divided.

In 2013, the two began looking for commercial apartment complexes to buy and manage. Four properties were purchased.

Cox promised Abadi he would have his attorney draft paperwork to document Abadi’s interest in the properties. When Abadi reached out to the attorney, he was informed that Cox never requested he create any documents of the sort.

In November 2015, Cox told Abadi he would be ending their partnership. Cox offered to allow Abadi to acquire some of the properties they shared. Of the shared properties, the complexes were not included. Cox refused to discuss the properties with his partner.

The total worth of the properties Cox is refusing to split is more than $2 million.

In a separate suit, Cox is asking to dissolve all the JALC Entities.