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The Villages wins federal suit against breakaway real estate agents

Social life in The Villages has largely been shut down since mid-March. Photo: Joe Byrnes

Five breakaway real estate agents will have to pay the Properties of The Villages a total of $603,700 after a federal judge found they violated a non-compete agreement.

The ruling last week reinforces the developer’s grip on an army of sales associates.

A few of the 200 or so agents who sell homes for the real estate brokerage of The Villages broke away in 2019.

And two of them formed their own company called KD Premier Realty. 

The agents sold homes within the sprawling retirement community, contrary to a non-compete agreement they had as independent contractors. They argued they hadn’t really been independent but actually employees of The Villages.

In his order following a bench trial, District Judge James S. Moody Jr. found they did indeed violate the contract.

He calculated the damages based on commissions The Villages brokerage lost from their home sales.

Agents also must turn over customer lists and computer data they took and are barred from selling homes in The Villages for 18 months beginning June 1.

Joe Byrnes came to Central Florida Public Media from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.