The world of high-end, luxury real estate has always been cutthroat, but an extortion scandal involving a team of Miami’s most well-known Realtors has taken things far past cutthroat.
According to various reports (including the Miami Herald), the Miami Realtors known as “the Jills,” Jill Eber and Jill Hertzberg, became the victims of an extortion scheme allegedly perpetrated by a rival Realtor, Kevin Tomlinson.
The Real Deal has a recap of the whole ordeal, which started in April with Tomlinson accusing the Jills of altering MLS data on homes they were supposedly having a difficulty selling and ended with Tomlinson in handcuffs, battered and bruised after resisting arrest.
According to the Real Deal report, Tomlinson filed a compliant with the Miami Association of Realtors accusing the Jills, who according to their website were named “the #1 Real Estate Team in America” by the Wall St. Journal in 2012 and 2013, of manipulating MLS data.
But that was just the beginning.
From The Real Deal report:
Months later, Tomlinson asked to meet with Hertzberg and put an offer on the table to make the complaint disappear. The two met at Hertzberg’s home, where Tomlinson said the complaint would vanish if both of them paid him $250,000. If they refused, he threatened to take the complaint public. Complaints with the association are confidential, the Herald reported.
The Jills then went to the police. A Miami Beach detective asked Hertzberg to call Tomlinson again, and he came back to her home, where she had a $400,000 check waiting. He asked for $800,000, threatening to go to the press. When Hertzberg called him back the next day, Tomlinson said it was too late, the newspaper reported.
After the police-aided sting operation went down, Miami police showed up at Tomlinson’s Miami Beach penthouse on Saturday to arrest him.
Here, from the Miami New Times is a recap of Tomlinson’s arrest (and a NSFW warning on the link for some spicy language allegedly uttered by Tomlinson during his arrest):
Police moved in to arrest Tomlinson Saturday at his penthouse suite in the Meridian Lofts at Dade Avenue and Meridian Avenue. Tomlinson wasn't happy to see them; police say after yelling expletives and Hertzberg's name, he wrestled with the officers and lunged for one of their weapons. They eventually subdued him and took him to jail.
According to the Real Deal report, Tomlinson was charged with two felony counts of extortion, resisting arrest and depriving an officer of means of protection.
Tomlinson was also reportedly fired by ONE Sotheby’s International Realty after news of the extortion plot and subsequent arrest came to light.
According to the Miami New Times report, Tomlinson was free on $11,000 bond as of Tuesday and is awaiting trial on the pending charges.
The Jills told the Miami Herald that they were “shaken by this extortion attempt, but want to thank the Miami Beach Police Department for their professionalism and guidance.”