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Miami Beach real estate agent arrested in alleged extortion plot

Police say Kevin Tomlinson tried to blackmail 'The Jills' into paying him as much as $800,000

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MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A Miami Beach real estate agent has been arrested after he tried to extort an increasing amount of hundreds of thousands of dollars from two of South Florida's most well-known luxury real estate agents, police said.

Kevin Tomlinson, a Realtor who worked for One Sotheby's International Realty, was arrested Saturday on one count of extortion and other charges related to his apprehension.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit obtained Tuesday by Local 10 News, the 48-year-old Realtor attempted to blackmail partners Jill Eber and Jill Hertzberg into paying him as much as $800,000.

Tomlinson's extortion plot began in April, when he filed an administrative complaint with the Miami Association of Realtors against Eber and Hertzberg for alleged violations of the multiple listing service, Miami Beach police Detective Wayne Holbrook wrote in the report.

In July, Tomlinson contacted Hertzberg and offered to meet with her, "suggesting he had a way of withdrawing" the complaint, Holbrook wrote.

The next day, Tomlinson met with Hertzberg at her home, at which time he told her that he "had the power to resolve the complaint and make it go away" for $500,000, to be split between Eber and Hertzberg, Holbrook wrote. Tomlinson told Hertzberg that if they didn't pay him, he would go public with the information and "ruin their reputations," the warrant said.

Hertzberg then called Eber, placing her on speakerphone, for Tomlinson to repeat his demands, the report said. This time, Tomlinson said he would accept "no less" than $400,000 between them, Holbrook wrote.

Instead of paying, Eber and Hertzberg filed a report with the Miami Beach Police Department on July 17.

Holbrook said he had Hertzberg call Tomlinson four times while he was listening to the conversation. During one of the August conversations, Tomlinson told Hertzberg to tell their attorney that they are settling the matter themselves, warning that "horrible things would happen" if they didn't, Holbrook wrote.

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At the request of Holbrook, Hertzberg met with Tomlinson last week at her home, where she presented him with a check for $400,000, but Tomlinson now demanded $800,000, saying there was a potential class-action lawsuit that would make it more difficult to go away, the warrant said.

When Hertzberg contacted Tomlinson on Friday, he told her it was too late, the warrant said.

As police attempted to arrest Tomlinson at his Miami Beach penthouse Saturday, he refused to open the locked door, cursing Hertzberg by name, an arrest report said.

Police had to wait for the building manager to unlock the door. Once they entered, officers had to restrain Tomlinson, who tried to grab one of their guns, the report said.

Tomlinson was eventually subdued and taken into custody. He also faces charges of resisting arrest with violence and depriving an officer of means of protection.

"The Jills," as they are known professionally, have sold some of Miami-Dade County's priciest homes, including the Miami Beach property once owned by actor Matt Damon.

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