Corcoran Group to former client in Palm Beach Gardens: You owe us $130,000


Corcoran Group says the would-be seller of a BallenIsles mansion owes it $130,000.

The real estate brokerage this week sued Eugene H. Rosen and Vivian Rosen of Palm Beach Gardens, saying they pocketed a deposit they were contractually obligated to share with the listing agent.

The Rosens listed their house last year for $3.7 million with Illustrated Properties, according to Zillow. In March, they hired Corcoran Group as their listing agent and lowered the price to $2.8 million.

This summer, the Rosens accepted an offer that included a $260,000 deposit, according to the lawsuit. The deal fell through, but the Rosens kept the $260,000. Corcoran Group, a unit of New Jersey-based Realogy Holdings (NYSE: RLGY), says the Rosens received the cash only because of its efforts to sell the property.

A couple of intriguing details: Despite evidence that real estate commissions are falling, especially for high-priced homes, the Rosens agreed to pay Corcoran a full 6 percent fee. And Eugene Rosen, 76, was licensed as a real estate broker in Connecticut a decade ago.

The Rosens’ 8,500-square-foot palace remains on the market, although with a lower price ($2.7 million) and a new real estate broker (Leibowitz Realty Group).

Which Florida county is the richest? New data offers one answer

Naples Pier

Among Florida counties, Palm Beach is home to the poshest real estate, while Miami-Dade boasts the biggest economy. But when it comes to per capita personal income, Collier County is the clear victor.

Collier County’s per capita personal income was $78,473 in 2015, No. 1 among Florida’s 67 counties, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Thursday. Palm Beach County’s $68,743 was No. 4. Union County’s $18,255 ranked last.

Every Florida county saw income rise from 2014 to 2015. Intriguingly, in this area of ever-expanding income inequality, Collier County’s 1.6 percent increase was the slowest pace of growth.

Personal income includes wages and salaries, investment income and transfer payments such as Social Security.

Nationally, income ranged from a low of $16,007 in Georgia’s Wheeler County to a high of $194,861 in Wyoming’s Teton County.

Underwater homeowners keep emerging from debt


Just 15 percent of Palm Beach County homeowners were “seriously underwater” during the third quarter, less than half the level of three years ago, according to Attom Data Solutions.

The real estate research company defines seriously underwater as owing more than 125 percent of a home’s value.

Meanwhile, 27 percent of Palm Beach County homeowners are “equity rich,” meaning they owe less than half the home’s value.

New landlord spends $2 million to upgrade Bankers Row office buildings

230 and 240 Royal Palm Way in Palm Beach. (Meghan McCarthy/Palm Beach Daily News)
230 and 240 Royal Palm Way in Palm Beach. (Meghan McCarthy/Palm Beach Daily News)

After paying $21 million for two office buildings on Bankers Row in Palm Beach, a New York investor has dropped an additional $2 million to upgrade wiring, roofs, air conditioning and security.

“We’re really bringing the building up to what we consider New York Class A office space,” said John O’Connor of O’Connor Capital Partners.

O’Connor Capital bought 230 and 240 Royal Palm Way in January. The two buildings contain about 30,000 square feet of office space. Lease rates are $45 to $50 a square foot.

Metals scammer to FTC: Let me sell my house


Sam J. Goldman wants to sell his McMansion west of Delray Beach for $1.7 million. But he has a problem: The Federal Trade Commission says he owes $24.4 million for defrauding customers of American Precious Metals LLC.

Goldman this week sued the FTC, saying he can’t sell his crib because of the government’s hefty lien.

“The FTC’s actions have prevented Mr. Goldman from exercising certain property rights he has under Florida law,” Goldman’s federal complaint said.

Goldman was slapped with a judgment in 2012. The 7,000-square-foot house has been on the market for more than a year.

Wages are rising, but just half of Americans have gotten a raise in past year


(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Nearly half of Americans say their pay rose over the past year — which means more than half of Americans didn’t get a raise, according to a survey released Tuesday. The findings follow a recent Labor Department report showing U.S. wages rose 2.8 percent over the past year.

Of the working Americans who say they’re making more money, some 37 percent stayed in the same position and got a pay raise, while 12 percent switched jobs.

American workers who didn’t get a raise or promotion were likely to be less educated, to work part time, or to be 62 and older.

“When it comes to rising incomes, it’s a case of the ‘halfs’ and the ‘half nots,’ with half of working Americans getting a raise or better paying job and half that didn’t,” said Greg McBride,’s chief financial analyst.


Low mortgage rates improve housing affordability

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Palm Beach County homes grew a bit more affordable in the third quarter, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index.

Some 58.9 percent of homes sold in July, August and September were in reach of a typical family, based on a median home price of $236,000 and a median income of $65,400. Those numbers were mostly unchanged from the second quarter, but rock-bottom interest rates improved affordability.

Nationally, affordability ranged from a high of 89.9 percent in Youngstown, Ohio, to a low of 9.7 percent in San Francisco.

Sign of trouble? Smartphone security company misses rent payments

Sonavation CEO Karl Weintz in December 2015. Palm Beach Post photo.
Sonavation CEO Karl Weintz in December 2015. Palm Beach Post photo.

PALM BEACH GARDENS — Nanotech firm Sonavation has defied the rules of commerce by surviving for years in startup mode, with no revenue.

Has that approach run its course? Sonavation‘s landlord has sued the company, saying it has missed rent payments on its facilities in Palm Beach Gardens.

In two suits filed in Palm Beach County court, landlord John C. Bills Enterprises says Sonavation has missed lease payments.

A Sonavation official says the dispute already has been settled.

In the larger lease, Sonavation pays John C. Bills $17,133 a month for 17,133 square feet of office and lab space at 3920 RCA Blvd., according to court documents. In a second lease, Sonavation pays John C. Bills $2,686 a month for 2,149 square feet of garage space at 357 Hiatt Drive.

Sonavation has spent a decade and tens of millions of dollars developing what CEO Karl Weintz calls “the world’s smallest ultrasound imaging sensor.” Unlike the rudimentary fingerprint readers in today’s phones, he says, Sonavation’s security device can scrutinize the nerve endings and capillaries under the skin of your fingertip.

The company has been hoping for a big deal with Apple, Samsung or another smartphone maker.


How did weed win in a landslide? Credit the white rural voters who gave Florida to Trump

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump recently sold a New York apartment for $21 million. (Getty Images)
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump recently sold a New York apartment for $21 million. (Getty Images)

They say politics makes strange bedfellows, and here’s a peculiar pairing: Donald Trump and medical marijuana.

After narrowly losing two years ago, Florida’s Amendment 2 won Tuesday in a landslide. Not too surprisingly, the weed measure won three-quarters of the vote in such lefty counties as Alachua, Broward and Palm Beach.

But the real surprise came in the red, rural counties. Amendment 2 saw 20-point gains in Baker, Clay, Okaloosa and Sumter counties from two years ago.

“You’re talking about the counties where you got all these unexpected Trump voters,” said Ben Pollara, head of the pro-pot campaign. “White men tend to be good marijuana-reform voters, as long as they’re not too old.”

Not one of Florida’s 67 counties saw less support this year than two years ago. Here’s a county-by-county breakdown:

Stock markets accept Trump win with only slight decline

Donald Trump on Super Tuesday. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)
Donald Trump on Super Tuesday. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

Stock markets looked certain to plunge Wednesday in reaction to Donald Trump’s unexpected win. However, the Dow Jones industrials were down just 45 points in opening minutes of trading.

Before U.S. markets opened Wednesday, investors seemed to grow calmer. Overnight, futures markets showed the Dow Jones industrial average plunging 750 points. By 9 a.m. Wednesday, that gap had narrowed to 236 points.

Still, many observers predicted volatility.

“A Trump presidency is an unanticipated — and unwelcome — outcome in the eyes of financial markets, so we’ll see a large and immediate pullback globally and a flight to quality,” said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at in Palm Beach Gardens. “Expect a 10 percent to 15 percent stock market pullback over the next few weeks, a sharp drop in long-term interest rates, and the Fed to remain sidelined next month.”

Palm Beach hedge fund manager Doug Kass called Trump’s win a “seismic” change for investors.

“There will be some winners — such as health care, biotech and gold — but likely many more losers than winners emanating from a new Trump administration,” Kass said.

“Expect volatility, but it’s probably not going to be as bad as at first glance,” said Mekael Teshome, an economist at PNC Financial Services Group. “It looks like we’ve already recovered some of those losses. But it’s really hard to say whether it’s going to be a bull market or if we’re going to bumble along.”

Many economists now expect the Federal Reserve not to raise rates in December.

“With much greater economic uncertainty likely in the months ahead, the Federal Open Market Committee could decide to hold off on an increase in the fed funds rate,” said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC.

It’s unclear how markets will react over the longer term to Trump’s presidency. On the campaign trail, he spoke of cutting corporate income taxes and ending Obamacare, two policies investors would seem to welcome.