Resort Properties v. Cherry Investment involved a claim by real estate broker David Atwell's sole proprietorship, Resort Properties, for a commission from the buyer of a Las Vegas resort hotel, Richard Alter and his company Financial Capital Investment.
Will Kemp, of Kemp, Jones & Coulthard, told the jury, "This case is about a broken promise and a misappropriated real estate commission." Mr. Kemp said that David Atwell had been a real estate broker for 30 years and was "the premier real estate broker for hotel casino transactions in Clark County."
According to Mr. Kemp, Mr. Atwell told Mr. Alter that the Alexis Park was for sale, determined that it could be made into a casino, and worked out a price of approximately $79M. Mr. Alter allegedly did not want to proceed at that time with the Alexis Park, but subsequently completed the Alexis Park deal for $75M. However, instead of paying Mr. Atwell the 2% commission that they had discussed ($1.5M), Mr. Alter allegedly paid a $2M broker's commission to a "fake broker" intermediary, and then transferred it back to himself.
For the defendant, Morris Peterson's Rex Garner told the jury that Mr. Atwell did not represent the buyer, and did not have any commission agreement with the buyer. Mr. Garner said that Mr. Atwell was adequately compensated by the seller at 0.75%, and there was no written consent to Mr. Atwell's representing both the buyer and the seller. Moreover, the allegedly misappropriated $2M "commission" was in fact a proper fee to a third party for development services provided in connection with the deal, such as zoning changes.
Mr. Garner claimed that instead it was Mr. Alter was damaged by Mr. Atwell's insistence across the years that he had been somehow representing Mr. Alter in the transaction.
The jury found in favor of the Mr. Atwell and awarded $1.5M.