A group of shareholders in the same real estate development group are feuding over how to sell shares.
The ARC Group owns an entire city block in downtown St. Petersburg between 6th and 7th Streets South and Central Ave., according to the Pinellas County Property Appraiser’s website. and 1st Ave. South including anchor tenants Publix, Chihuly Collection and a tower anchored by First Home Bank.
Two members of the group, Calvin Samuel and John Maricone, notified other members last March that they intended to sell their shares in the group.
Under a contractual process established when the group formed in 1999, if a shareholder wishes to sell its stake in the group, the other shareholders have the option to purchase those shares.
George Apostolu, Panagiotis Apostolu, Gregory Politis and Michael Collins exercised their right to purchase the shares Samuel and Maricone were selling.
Under terms of the contract, the sellers and purchasers must each identify an individual appraiser. Those two appraisers would then select a third appraiser whose valuation of the shares would become the purchase price.
All parties initially carried out that process and an appraiser by the name of Jason Shultz was chosen in March to issue the actual valuation. However, Shultz resigned from his assignment in September, saying in an email that he would not “engage in any communication following this email.”
The defendants later submitted a valuation by Todd Burg, an appraiser unfamiliar to the plaintiffs.
Plaintiffs tried to get the defendants to follow the procedure in their contract, but the defendants allegedly refused.
It’s not clear from the lawsuit, which plaintiffs filed in Pinellas County court Jan. 13, whether Shultz ever issued a valuation or whether plaintiffs think Burg’s valuation is higher than Shultz’s would have been.
The lawsuit does not seek specific damages, rather asks a judge to compel defendants to follow the contractually mandated process to establish a valuation of shares and, thus, a selling price.
It’s also not clear how many shares in the Arc Group defendants control or why they decided to sell their shares.
The downtown block the group controls is a fairly new beacon in the downtown St. Pete area bridging downtown and the burgeoning Edge District. The Publix opened in 2017 to much fanfare as it offered an opportunity for new residents in the area to access a walkable grocery store.
The block sits on the eastern edge of the Edge District and the westernmost edge of downtown.