Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Carlos Beruff fends off lawsuit amid campaign against Marco Rubio

Less than three weeks before the deciding moment of his fledgling political career, Republican Carlos Beruff is being drawn into a new lawsuit that alleges his home construction company pocketed thousands of dollars of deposits and violated federal housing regulations.

Beruff said the disgruntled customer who filed the suit knows he's in the homestretch of a campaign.

"It's all garbage," Beruff said. "Give me a break. This guy figures I am running for the United States Senate."

On Tuesday, Sarasota resident Conrad Zarris had his attorney file a lawsuit in the 12th Judicial Circuit in Manatee County. It says that Beruff's company, Medallion Homes Gulf Coast, refused to refund a $42,590 deposit he put down on a home he ultimately did not buy — a contract violation.

The lawsuit also says Medallion forced Zarris to use a specific title insurance company last year that is also owned partly by Beruff. That relationship was never disclosed, the suit charges. If true, that would violate federal rules that require home sellers to disclose their business interests when they refer a customer to a lending company or title company that is affiliated with them.

Peter Logan, president of Medallion, said that if Zarris couldn't get the financing for the home, he would have gotten the deposit back. He lost the deposit because Zarris, a real estate sales professional, failed to close on the property within 60 days even though he had been approved for financing, Logan said.

Zarris entered into a contract with Medallion on Oct. 26 for the home. On Jan. 22, Medallion sent Zarris notice that because he hadn't closed, the company would keep his deposit.

Logan said the relationship between Medallion and the title company was fully disclosed, in writing, and there are signed documents to prove it. He said Zarris was never required to use Sun Coast Title Co.

Beruff said in a separate interview that everything Medallion does is properly disclosed.

"We have forms for everything," Beruff said. "I'm 58 years old. I've been around this game for a long time."

But Dan McKillop, the Sarasota lawyer representing Zarris, said there was no disclosure "at the time of the referral" to Sun Coast — a key point he said the case will show.

He also disputed Beruff's claim that the lawsuit was filed because of his campaign for the U.S. Senate. On Aug. 30, Beruff is challenging U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio for the Republican nomination.

"There is no political motivation," said McKillop, who noted he is a Republican.

Zarris, a registered Republican in Sarasota County, referred all questions about the case to McKillop.

McKillop said when he made his initial inquiries into Zarris' case, he did not know Beruff was even running for office.

Times staff writer Steve Contorno contributed to this report. Contact Jeremy Wallace at jwallace@tampabay.com or (850) 224-7263. Follow @jeremyswallace.

Carlos Beruff fends off lawsuit amid campaign against Marco Rubio 08/12/16 [Last modified: Friday, August 12, 2016 9:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida Specialty Insurance acquires Pinellas Park's Mount Beacon Insurance

    Banking

    Tens of thousands of homeowners who were pushed out of Citizens Property Insurance for a private carrier since 2014 are finding themselves changing insurance companies yet again.

  2. Pope Francis presents Trump with a 'politically loaded gift': His encyclical on climate change

    Global Warming

    VATICAN CITY — On Wednesday, Pope Francis appeared to make his point with a gift.

    Ivanka Trump, first lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican, Wednesday.  [Evan Vucci/Pool via The New York Times]
  3. Tampa police say 41-year-old man shot and killed by ex-boss, investigation ongoing

    Crime

    TAMPA — A 41-year-old man was shot and killed by his former boss Wednesday morning outside the West Tampa auto body shop where they once worked together, according to Tampa police.

  4. Father and brother of alleged bomber detained in Libya

    World

    The father and younger brother of the man who British police say bombed an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester have been detained in Libya, where anti-terror authorities said the brother confessed to knowing "all the details" of the attack plot.

    Hashim Ramadan Abedi appears inside the Tripoli-based Special Deterrent anti-terrorism force unit after his arrest on Tuesday for alleged links to the Islamic State extremist group. Abedi is the brother of Salman Abedi, who has been identified as the man behind the bombing that killed 22 people and wounded scores at an Ariana Grande concert Monday night in Manchester. [Ahmed Bin Salman, Special Deterrent Force via AP]
  5. Marijuana extract Epidiolex helps some kids with epilepsy, study shows

    Health

    A medicine made from marijuana, without the stuff that gives a high, cut seizures in kids with a severe form of epilepsy in a study that strengthens the case for more research into pot's possible health benefits.

    An employee checks a plant at LeafLine Labs, a medical marijuana production facility in Cottage Grove, Minn. [Associated Press (2015)]