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Miami broker arrested for allegations of an $800,000 extortion plot

A top Miami Beach broker was arrested over the weekend, as a competitive power duo alleges an extortion plot over an ethics violation charge.

extortion plot

Kevin Tomlinson, one of Miami Beach’s most well known and most successful brokers was arrested over the weekend, charged with attempting to extort $800,000 from Coldwell Banker brokers Jill Hertzberg and Jill Eber, known as “the Jills.”

The One Sotheby’s International Realty broker has been terminated from his leadership role after building the local brand, and has been released on bond, according to police records.

How the plot allegedly went down

The arrest warrant alleges that the extortion plot began in April when Tomlinson filed an ethics complaint against “the Jills.” The ethics complaint is said to have been about the duo manipulating listings on the MLS to cover up issues they were having with their slower selling listings. Because ethics complaints are confidential, the association cannot offer commentary.

The warrant also claims that Tomlinson called Hertzberg on July 16th asking for a meeting to offer a way to withdraw the ethics complaint, and upon arrival, he allegedly said he would make the complaint go away if they each paid him $250,000, otherwise he would make the complaint public and ruin them.

“The Jills” told police that he reduced the request to $200,000 each. A Miami detective guided Hertzberg to call Tomlinson, who then allegedly continued with the extortion plot. The duo invited Tomlinson to come collect, had a check for $400,000, but they say he upped the ante to $800,000 and threatened to go to the media about their alleged MLS manipulation.

Resisting arrest, taking an officer’s gun

An arrest warrant was issued the next day. Upon arrival at his penthouse apartment, police reports indicate he would not open the door and cursed at them. The building manager let the police in, and they physically grabbed his arms and took him down to the ground, alleging that he resisted arrest.

One officer claims Tomlinson “grabbed the handle of my firearm in an attempt to gain control of it” as he kicked and fought arrest.

Tomlinson explains his side

Tomlinson was ultimately charged with two felony counts of extortion, resisting arrest with violence, and depriving an officer of means of protection.

“This is retribution for my grievance with the Miami Association of Realtors,’’ Tomlinson said in a statement to the Miami Herald. “I was threatened by Jill Hertzberg that something like this was going to happen if I went forward with my Miami Association of Realtors grievance.’’

When asked for comment, Tomlinson stood by his statement above.

Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

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