1. News
  2. /
  3. Business

State board revokes license of felon Tampa Bay real estate agent

Michael Schaffer still has active listings
An image from the web site of Realtor Michael Schaffer's real estate company. [Realty Resources] [WWW.TAMPABAYHOMEREALTOR.COM/TEAM  |  Screen grab]
An image from the web site of Realtor Michael Schaffer's real estate company. [Realty Resources] [WWW.TAMPABAYHOMEREALTOR.COM/TEAM | Screen grab]
Published Oct. 16, 2019
Updated Oct. 16, 2019

ORLANDO — The Florida Real Estate Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to revoke the license of Michael Schaffer, a Pinellas County real estate agent who failed to disclose two felony theft convictions.

"He should not be working with consumers,'' commissioner Guy Sanchez Jr. said.

Somewhat unusually, Schaffer did not appear nor was he represented by an attorney at the all-day commission meeting where dozens of other Realtors and license applicants showed up in person to answer questions about their criminal pasts. Schaffer, an agent with Realty Resource in St. Pete Beach, did not return a call for comment.

The revocation will not take effect until a final order is filed, probably around the end of October. Until then, Schaffer can continue to work as an agent. Records show that he has one active listing, a vacant lot in Marion County, and that he has been involved in several transactions this year including the $1.54 million sale of a unit in the ONE St. Petersburg condo tower.

The commission began investigating Schaffer after the Tampa Bay Times reported on some questionable real estate dealings, his ties to a disbarred lawyer and his criminal background.

RELATED: A felon Realtor, a disbarred lawyer and a shady sale

Schaffer, 53, obtained his Florida real estate license in 2001. A year later, he was indicted in Illinois, where he once worked, on charges of stealing nearly $40,000 from a clothing store. He pleaded guilty to two felony counts and was sentenced to 30 months probation. Florida officials said there was no evidence that he ever disclosed his crimes to the state’s Real Estate Commission as is required.

The seven-member commission, which meets monthly in Orlando, takes an especially hard line on thefts and other financial crimes. Realtors handle clients’ escrow funds and often enter homes when no one is there.

"People leave money around,'' commissioner Patti Ketcham said Tuesday as the panel considered whether to approve a license for a man with a petty theft charge. "Stealing is a big deal and people need to be able to trust us.''

Those who’ve had recent dealings with Schaffer say his thefts and criminal past should have been a warning.

Last year, Samuel Buck of Seminole filed a complaint with the Real Estate Commission after he lost out on the purchase of a villa that Schaffer had listed. Schaffer accepted a lower bid — from a Realtor in the same office — even though Buck’s bid was considerably higher. That Realtor relisted the villa for nearly $75,000 more than he had paid five days earlier.

Retired Gulfport teacher Marsha Warner said Schaffer and lawyer Andre Keith Sanders talked her into using $114,000 of her retirement funds in 2012 to help a buyer who needed downpayment assistance on a Tierra Verde townhouse. Warner received some monthly interest payments but was eventually told that all of her "investment'' had been lost.

In fact, the men had used Warner’s money to pay off the mortgage on the townhouse, which had belonged to one of Sanders clients. It was then sold to Schaffer’s roommate and business partner, who flipped it — for a $163,000 profit.

Gulfport lawyer Dianne Griffith wonders why it took Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which oversees the Real Estate Commission, such a long time to learn about Schaffer’s felony thefts. Griffith, who represents Warner and another woman who have filed complaints about him, quickly found the cases from 2002.

"If I can find these facts in minutes, why can’t the DBPR?,'' she asked.



  1. Tampa Premium Outlets, 2300 Grand Cypress Drive. The area’s newest outlet is touting the shop tax free weekend and extra savings on top of already reduced prices.
    Deputies are searching for a suspect. There is no public safety threat.
  2. Mike Bishop joins Pasco EDC staff. [Pasco EDC]
    News and notes on Pasco businesses
  3. Hernando County community news [Tara McCarty]
    News and notes on Hernando businesses
  4. A beer is pictured in the outdoor games area of Park & Rec on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 in St. Petersburg. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The Towers of Channelside condo association has filed a lawsuit against the bar, as residents complain about noise.
  5. Yacht StarShip, a dining and water taxi company, has added the Lost Pearl pirate ship to its fleet just in time for Gasparilla. [Yacht StarShip]
    After years entertaining tourists in Virginia Beach, the Lost Pearl is settling into its new Tampa Bay home.
  6. Bank OZK CEO and chairman George Gleason, left, and managing director Greg Newman are photographed at the OZK Wynwood branch in Miami on November 13, 2019. [CARL JUSTE | Miami Herald] [Carlt Juste | Miami Herald]
    In fact, Bank OZK has emerged as a powerhouse in commercial lending generally.
  7. Flooding from an October king tide in Miami Shores fills streets, sidewalks and driveways at its peak. [Miami Herald]
    And it could lose up to 35 percent of its value by 2050, according to a new report.
  8. Delta Air Lines said Friday it will launch five new round-trip routes a day between Tampa and Miami starting May 4. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) [MARK LENNIHAN  |  AP]
    Delta says the daily nonstop Miami service will create new connections for Tampa travelers to fly to Latin America and other international destinations.
  9. The Undercroft — the new home to a branch office of TheIncLab, an artificial intelligence firm — provides work space for several cybersecurity companies in one of Ybor City’s most historic structures, the El Pasaje building on E Ninth Avenue. RICHARD DANIELSON | Times [Richard Danielson]
    The Washington, D.C.-area company expects hiring 15 developers and engineers in the next twelve months and partnering with bay area universities to augment its staff with student interns.
  10. FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2019, file photo Amazon packages move along a conveyor prior to Amazon robots transporting packages from workers to chutes that are organized by zip code, at an Amazon warehouse facility in Goodyear, Ariz. Cashless shopping is convenient, but it can be a budget-buster. This year, make it more difficult to spend money online. This could help cut out some of your impulse purchases. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File) [ROSS D. FRANKLIN  |  AP]
    Here are some tips to avoid wasting money when you shop.