Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Prominent Tampa lawyer Barry Cohen's condo in foreclosure

TAMPA — Barry Cohen is one of Tampa Bay's highest profile lawyers. His law firm's website lists hundreds of millions of dollars in awards it has won on behalf of clients.

So a lawsuit filed against Cohen in August stands in unusual contrast to his public image as a lawyer whose career has seen great success.

It's a foreclosure action.

Wells Fargo bank has filed suit in Pinellas County to foreclose on a Redington Shores condominium unit that Cohen owns, saying he hasn't made a mortgage payment since April 1. Cohen lives in Tampa, and the condo is not his primary residence.

That's not the only thing in the public record that contrasts with Cohen's financial successes.

The foreclosure action came several months after Cohen sold his $3.6 million Tierra Verde home to move into a million-dollar home in Tampa's Hyde Park.

The foreclosure also came after Cohen received a $250,000 loan from his longtime friend, Greg Henderson, the fiance of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Cohen denied any financial difficulties and insisted his firm, Cohen & Foster, is doing well, working hard for clients and collecting the largest legal settlements in Tampa Bay.

Cohen said the foreclosure will soon be dismissed by the bank. He said an employee who handles the mortgage payments was late making a payment, and the bank filed the suit in error. Wells Fargo officials could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

Cohen said he sold his Pinellas County home in late 2010 because the real estate market had tanked, and it didn't make good business sense to keep it. Besides, he said, his wife didn't like the home.

Cohen acknowledged that talk about his firm's finances is circulating. He said it is generated by enemies, perhaps in the legal community, whom he said are envious of his success.

"There's not a lawyer in town who can get a $15 million fee for a criminal case," Cohen said. "I've gotten some of the biggest verdicts in this town. . . . There are people who resent that. There are people who resent success. So they want to try to embarrass me."

The foreclosure suit came the same month that two lawyers in Cohen's firm, including partner Steve Romine, quit on the same day. Romine and a firm associate said they were seeking new opportunities and said firm finances had nothing to do with their decision.

Also in August, a filing in a federal lawsuit in which Cohen represented plaintiffs in a whistle-blower lawsuit involving a biotechnology firm indicated Cohen didn't have full control of his firm's finances.

In a motion to intervene in the litigation and join the lawsuit, a doctor formerly represented by Cohen said Alan Goldberg was in control of the law firm's "general financial functioning."

Goldberg heads Crisis Management, a Miami firm that specializes in turning around companies in financial distress.

The motion said Goldberg, who did not return a call for comment, was installed in the job by "the group that was funding the Cohen Firm" and that "it was not within" Cohen's "power to dismiss" Goldberg.

The group providing the funding was not named in the motion to intervene, which the court ultimately did not grant.

Cohen said Wednesday that Goldberg no longer works at his firm. Cohen said he willingly hired Goldberg, denying he was forced on the firm.

"He was working for me directly," Cohen said.

Cohen said his firm often must carry expenses for years as it waits for a big case to settle. He said he has several multi-million-dollar settlements expected to pay out soon. The long delay in settling cases, he said, requires him to seek financing from creditors to pay his overhead.

In November 2010, he got the loan from Henderson for that purpose, Cohen said. The loan, he said, has not yet been repaid in full.

"We have a lot of money on the street," Cohen said. "I had four or five million on the street before. You get your money (from cases,) and you pay it back. It's a little tougher today because banks aren't loaning any money. . . . We're up and we're down."

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Reach William R. Levesque at or (813) 226-3432.

Prominent Tampa lawyer Barry Cohen's condo in foreclosure 11/30/11 [Last modified: Thursday, December 1, 2011 12:08am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. All of Puerto Rico without power in Maria's brutal wake


    SAN JUAN — Hurricane Maria's ferocious winds continued strafing Puerto Rico late Wednesday morning, shearing off roofs, cutting power to nearly the entire island and pushing rivers over their banks.

    Rescue vehicles from the Emergency Management Agency stand trapped under an awning during the impact of Hurricane Maria, after the storm  hit the eastern region of the island, in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Maria has lost its major hurricane status, after raking Puerto Rico. But forecasters say some strengthening is in the forecast and Maria could again become a major hurricane by Thursday. [Carlos Giusti | Associated Press]
  2. Obamacare repeal bill offers flexibility and uncertainty


    The latest Republican proposal to undo the Affordable Care Act would grant states much greater flexibility and all but guarantee much greater uncertainty for tens of millions of people.

  3. Manafort offered to give Russian billionaire 'private briefings' on 2016 campaign, report says


    Less than two weeks before Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign chairman offered to provide briefings on the race to a Russian billionaire closely aligned with the Kremlin, the Washington Post reports.

    Paul Manafort, then Donald Trump's campaign chairman, talks to reporters on the floor of the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. [Associated Press]
  4. Tampa girl, 4, dies of gunshot reaching for candy


    TAMPA — One day last week, 4-year-old Yanelly Zoller reached into her grandmother's purse looking for candy, her father says.

    Nelly Zoller snuggles with her grandfather's dog, Venus. Her father says she went looking for candy in her grandmother's purse and found a gun instead. [Facebook]
  5. Mikhail Sergachev begins real Lightning audition vs. Carolina Hurricanes

    Lightning Strikes

    RALEIGH, N.C. — The spotlight will remain on Mikhail Sergachev throughout the Lightning preseason.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) on the ice during hockey training camp in preparation for the 2017-2018 season in Brandon Friday morning (09/15/17). DIRK SHADD   |   Times