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Irishmen sue ‘trusted friend’ over real estate short-sale ruse

in Local Courts by

A group of Irishmen are suing a friend and local real estate agent for fraud after they learned the truth about a 2008 home purchase.

Ronald Fair, Robert Galbraith and Paul Donnelly are residents of Ireland; they purchased a 3,868-square-foot, waterfront Belleair Beach home in 2008 using licensed real estate agent (and “trusted friend”) Paul Kelly.

Kelly initially said the property was listed for nearly $2.3 million, but because it was in foreclosure, it could be purchased for $1 million less.

To secure the property, they wrote two checks. The first was for $40,000 as a deposit to hold the property. The second was made to Kelly for $132,500 for foreclosure fees.

When the three men decided to sell the property in early 2016, they reviewed the closing documents from their initial purchase. It was during this time that the Irishmen learned they were deceived when purchasing the home.

When viewing the HUD, they noticed the payment to Kelly wasn’t recorded. They further learned that the property had never been listed for more than $1.7 million. At the time of purchase, it was listed at just under $1.3 million.

Further, the property wasn’t ever in foreclosure as the previous owners paid cash for the property. The men were at a loss for what the $132,500 was spent on.

Because the men were outside of the country at the time of the purchase, they relied on their friend, Kelly, to get them the best deal possible. They are suing him on five counts for breach of fiduciary duty, deceptive and unfair trade practices, fraudulent inducement, negligent misrepresentation and conversion.

The property is located at 319 Belle Isle Ave.


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