Kevin Tomlinson’s legal troubles are far from over — the ex-South Beach Realtor found guilty for trying to extort money from luxury real estate duo “The Jills” is once again facing prison time.
In June, Tomlinson avoided prison after a judge sentenced the one-time agent to two years of house arrest with an ankle monitor for allegedly demanding $800,000 from Coldwell Banker rivals Jill Hertzberg and Jill Eber. He was also barred from practicing real estate and posting anything related to “The Jills” on social media. A review of his Facebook account shows that he scrubbed all content between February and September of last year.
As first reported by the Real Deal, Tomlinson was taken back into custody after the Florida Department of Corrections claimed he failed to pay court costs, left his Miami apartment without permission and tried to contact Hertzberg and Eber on Facebook. According to Tomlinson’s probation officer Amancia Irizarry’s report, the ex-agent triggered 26 alarms from an ankle bracelet since the start of his house arrest, although it was unclear if the alarm was triggered by him leaving his property.
At the end of December, Tomlinson was put in jail while waiting for a probation violation hearing. The Florida governor’s office appointed the Broward State Attorney’s Office to prosecute the case and determine whether Tomlinson will be sentenced to prison this time around.
But because the attorney’s office is currently transitioning to a new governor and did not obtain the paperwork necessary for the case in time, Tomlinson’s hearing has been delayed by more than two weeks. Judge Milton Hirsch, who was the one to sentence Tomlinson back in June, told those present in court that he had no choice but to release Tomlinson from jail at the start of January, the Miami Herald reports.
That said, Hirsch has ordered that Tomlinson be placed on 24-7 house arrest lockdown and not have access to any smartphones, computers or other devices capable of connecting to the internet. Before the first sentencing, Tomlinson had been very active on social media – posting on his Facebook and Twitter accounts and even reaching out to a reporter about his coverage.
“He can have no access to the internet — at all,” Hirsch said at the time of Tomlinson’s release.
The drama began unfolding in 2015. After filing a complaint that accused Hertzberg and Eber of hiding properties that had been on the multiple listing service (MLS) for more than six months, Tomlinson reportedly demanded $250,000, and later $400,000, from each to not make the complaint public and settle without a lawsuit.
But Tomlinson’s conversations were secretly recorded by Miami police. and a jury found Tomlinson guilty of extortion on June 22. Hertzberg and Eber, meanwhile, felt some fallout from the accusations brought up by Tomlinson’s case — in September, they were asked to leave the well-respected Master Brokers Forum industry trade group.
Throughout the end of December and start of January, Tomlinson’s case was left in limbo as prosecutors stepped away from the case (state attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle cited conflict of interest as she is friends with Hertzberg’s husband) and offices prepared for end-of-term transitions.
But as Florida governor Ron DeSantis was officially sworn in on Jan. 8, the attorney’s office is expected to go back to regular scheduling — and a judge will rule on whether Tomlinson’s should be sentenced to prison time.
Inman will continue to cover Tomlinson’s case as the hearing proceeds.