After failing to give minority partner Cindy Diffenderfer $550,000 as part of a settlement agreement, a company run by Harvey Hernandez will now have to pay her $963,000, plus attorney fees.
Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge David C. Miller ruled last week that Miami-based Hernandez’s NGD Homesharing violated the terms of the May settlement that called for the $1.05 million payment dollars to Diffenderfer. Diffenderfer co-founded and owns a 10% stake in NGD Homesharing, which manages and rents apartments and condos on behalf of individual owners to short-term tenants on platforms such as Airbnb.
Hernandez, a Miami-based developer who runs Newgard Realty and Newgard Development Group, is the CEO of NGD Homesharing. He did not respond to a voicemail and email requesting comment.
In 2019, after being fired from her position as chief marketing officer of NGD Homesharing, Diffenderfer sued the company for wrongful termination and sought more than $600,000 in deferred compensation. Diffenderfer is currently the managing partner of Orion Haus, a company that partners with multi-family real estate owners to turn their properties into short-term rentals.
According to recent court documents, Diffenderfer alleged that NGD Homesharing paid half of the settlement, but later hesitated to pay the rest. The alleged default triggered financial penalties, including $400,000 in damages and approximately $13,000 in annual interest charges of 18%, Miller’s order says.
“My client is relieved and grateful that Judge Miller made the right decision,” said Jason Goldman, Diffenderfer’s attorney. “My client deserves what she is getting now, which is justice.”
John Kirkpatrick, the attorney for NGD Homesharing, said the company plans to appeal. “We strongly disagree with the court order,” Kirkpatrick said. “NGD Homesharing will pursue its appeals.”
Miller also ordered NGD Homeharing to provide Diffenderfer with documents and proof of its stake that the company had failed to produce, including certificates showing its 10% stake in NGD and tax returns for 2017 to 2021.
In its lawsuit, Diffenderfer alleged that NGD Homesharing needed a court-appointed receiver and was heading toward insolvency due to Hernandez’s mismanagement of company funds. She accused him of using $275,000 in NGD money to settle a legal dispute with another co-founder, Barbara Salk, as well as spending company funds on yacht fuel, plastic surgery and surgery. holidays in France, Spain and Aspen, Colorado.
Hernandez and his companies are no strangers to litigation. In 2019, the developer settled a lawsuit filed by the condominium association for BrickellHouse, a 46-unit condominium it had completed five years earlier. Hernandez paid $275,000, and the association denied all of its claims against him, stemming from the BrickellHouse garage’s alleged malfunction and forcing residents to park in other buildings.
Also in 2019, Airbnb filed a lawsuit against NGD. Airbnb alleged that NGD defrauded the short-term rental company as part of a partnership and stole $1 million. NGD countersued, alleging Airbnb acted in bad faith and breached its contract. Airbnb and NGD reached an undisclosed settlement in 2020.
NGD Homesharing also sued RealPage, alleging that the popular property management software company stole trade secrets and employees from the Hernandez company. This case is still pending.