Longtime St. Petersburg Realtor Bonnie Strickland abruptly leaves Douglas Elliman mega-firm

Douglas Elliman acquired Strickland’s luxury real estate firm in January 2019. She had originally intended to stay on for at least five years, she said.
Bonnie Strickland
Bonnie Strickland [ Courtesy of Bonnie Strickland ]
Published April 16, 2020|Updated April 16, 2020

After an apparent dispute, Bonnie Strickland, a key player in the St. Petersburg luxury real estate world, resigned from Douglas Elliman, the massive firm that acquired her operation a little over a year ago.

Strickland said she was unable to discuss the specifics of her departure due to a confidentiality agreement she signed with Douglas Elliman when it first purchased her firm, the Strickland Property Group, in January 2019. At the time, Strickland Property Group had become one of Pinellas County’s most successful real estate operations.

“After we couldn’t come to an agreement ... I just had to take the high road and retire,” she said. “It was an oil and vinegar kind of mix.”

Douglas Elliman, based in New York, is the nation’s third largest residential brokerage, with offices across Florida and the country.

After the purchase, Strickland had intended to stay on for at least five years, she said. Her resignation marks a very different outcome. But she emphasized that she has no ill will toward Douglas Elliman.

“They obviously know what they’re doing,” she said.

Because of a non-compete clause in her contract, she’s not allowed to practice real estate for a few more years in the St. Petersburg area, but said she looks forward to figuring out her next steps and how she can help the real estate market emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.

Strickland added that her former employees who also joined Douglas Elliman were scheduled to meet to discuss whether they, too, would leave in light of the news.

In a statement, Douglas Elliman said that they “wish Bonnie the best of luck in any future endeavors and look forward to the continuous success of our agents in St. Petersburg, all of whom have expressed their commitment to staying on with Douglas Elliman.”

Strickland also said she hopes that Elliman will honor commitments to replicate her firm’s past donations to local causes, including the Salvador Dali Museum and St. Petersburg’s Museum of Fine Arts.