TAMPA — A federal judge has shot down a Tampa asset management firm's attempt for summary judgment citing "factual disputes" in the case brought by a Brazilian man who alleges the firm broke a contract and committed fraud, costing him nearly a half-million dollars.
According to the May 15 U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tampa filing, defendants American Private Equity LLC, also known as American Family Legacy Group (AFLG), and others requested a summary judgment on allegations of fraudulent inducement from plaintiff Chico Moss and others.
The case stems from AFLG being hired to sell a Brazilian chemical company, Quimatec, in 2014. A year later, with Quimatec still not sold, AFLG vice president Miguel Alban met Moss, a partner with The Prosyon Group. Moss is a U.S. citizen living in Brazil and had contacts and access to investors as well as experience in mergers and acquisitions. Moss made an agreement with Alban and AFLG to find a buyer for Quimatec.
Moss alleges his original agreement with AFLG to receive 2.5 percent of the total sale price of Quimatec was breached when the agreement was changed by AFLG president and CEO Freddy Russian from 2.5 percent commission to 45 percent of only AFLG's commission on the sale. Moss alleges he lost $458,000 as a result of Russian's changes.
Russian argues there was no contract but came up with a "release letter" and a contract stating he would pay Moss 40 percent of the AFLG commission. The release stated Russian would pay $150,000 over three years, but Russian allegedly paid Moss only $28,000 and then stopped paying.
In reviewing Moss' allegation of fraudulent inducement, U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday concluded that "factual disputes exist" regarding Russian's intent and alleged false "statement." The court found "a genuine dispute as to [a] material fact" and denied AFLG's summary judgment motion.