Roy Black (Melanie Bell)
Miami celebrity attorney Roy Black is expected to take the stand Tuesday to defend accusations he represented a one-time developer of the Miami Worldcenter project and switched sides to become the lawyer for his business rivals.
Palm Beach County developer Marc Roberts had an interest in the management company for the planned Miami Worldcenter proposed to remake the city’s blighted Park West neighborhood.
Roberts is being sued by former partner Harvey Silverman in federal court and real estate broker Edie Laquer in state court in litigation related to the sprawling mixed-use project.
Black’s Miami law firm, Black, Srebnick Kornspan & Stumpf, represents Silverman in the federal action and Laquer in the lawsuit before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ron Dresnick.
Dresnick set an evidentiary hearing Monday on the matter but adjourned without taking testimony from Black. The hearing is set to resume Tuesday.
Shortly after the hearing began, Dresnick cleared the courtroom of all non-essential parties, including news media, to discuss confidential settlement documents relating to a bankruptcy involving the parties.
Before that, Robert’s new attorney, Richard J. Burton of the Burton Firm in Aventura, said his client met with Black for two hours to discuss his deposition in the bankruptcy case and provided Black with confidential documents.
He said emails between the two men would show Roberts went to Black for legal advice.
“He didn’t realize the material given Mr. Black could be used against him,” Burton said. “It wasn’t just a meeting on a golf course.”
Black Srebnick attorney Jared Lopez, representing Laquer, Black and his firm, told Dresnick that there was no attorney-client relationship. The men had just been friends, Lopez said.
“Mr. Black is not a bankruptcy attorney,” Lopez said. “No confidential information was shared.”
Black is not representing either Laquer or Silverman, but law partners Lopez and Howard Srebnick are attorneys of record for both.
Laquer declined comment outside court. The president of Miami Beach-based Laquer Corporate Realty Group Inc. has been suing Roberts and his partner, Arthur Falcone, over a stake in the nine-block project since 2008.
The lawsuit was filed while she litigated against another developer, Michael Samuel, over projects in Midtown Miami. The parties settled that lawsuit last summer for $3.8 million.
Silverman settled an adversary suit against Roberts stemming from the bankruptcy of their management company. Silverman then filed a federal lawsuit in March against Falcone and his properties.
Roberts is mentioned more than 70 times in the lawsuit but is not a defendant.
“It doesn’t matter that he isn’t individually named if your attorney is suing something and hurting your financial interests,” Burton said.