A Palm Beach Gardens landlord last week sued Realty Associates Florida for unpaid rent for office space at 4650 Donald Ross Road. It’s just the latest legal entanglement for the once-expanding real estate brokerage run by Richard Vecchio.
Vecchio didn’t respond to requests for comment, but he has been hit with a number of legal actions:
- In February, Branch Banking & Trust Co. sued Vecchio and Realty Associates Florida for defaulting on a $300,000 loan. Vecchio took the promissory note in 2015 and stopped paying in December, BB&T said.
- Also in February, a Boca Raton landlord sued Vecchio and Realty Associates Florida for defaulting on a $5,000-a-month lease at 2325 N. Ocean Blvd.
- Bill Joll, the former president and chief operating officer of Vechhio’s company, last year sued for $36,666.66 in unpaid wages. In court papers, Vecchio acknowledged that he didn’t pay Joll but said he withheld payment because Joll schemed to start a rival company while working for Vecchio.
- Dream Homes International last year sued Vecchio’s Realty Associates Florida for fraud and breach of contract. Dream Homes bought Vecchio’s offices in Boynton Beach, Wellington and Weston, but Dream Homes said Vecchio sabotaged the deal by discouraging agents from transferring their licenses to the new owner. Vecchio also failed to repay a $70,000 loan, Dream Homes said. “Realty Associates made every effort to circumvent the agreement,” the plaintiff said in its suit.
- Before the Dream Homes deal, a Weston landlord last year sued Realty Associates Florida for failing to make rent payments of $8,755 a month.
Vecchio, 65, is a veteran broker. During the real estate crash, he went against the grain by expanding. In 2009, Vecchio told The Palm Beach Post that his company had grown to 500 agents, up from 250 in 2005.
Realty Associates snapped up the former RE/MAX Northern Palm Beaches after RE/MAX International ended that company’s franchise agreement. Realty Associates had offices from Miami to Jupiter, plus one in Rhode Island.