DESTIN — The Becnel family is suing one
of their own, Damon Becnel, alleging that he cheated them
out of profits when he worked as manager of The Palms of
Destin condominium complex.
DRB Development LLC, a business 90 percent owned by the Thomas R. Becnel Family Trust, is seeking more than $5 million.
The transfer of ownership was conducted without being approved or ratified by other members of DRB and at "substantially less favorable terms to DRB than could be obtained in an arms length transaction with a third party," according to the lawsuit.
Damon Becnel, through
Visionary, sold 12 of the condominium units it had obtained
for approximately $2.37 million, the lawsuit states. He
rented out some or all of the remaining 21 condos and
pocketed the rental payments and income, it said.
His actions constitute "managers conflict of interest transactions" and violate state statute, the lawsuit said.
"D. Becnel is competing with DRB by engaging in the sale, rental and marketing of unsold transferred units while at the same time DRB is engaged in the sale, rental and marketing of the remaining developer owned units," said the lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of the family by attorney Steve Bauman.
Bauman could not comment on the ongoing litigation.
Becnel's actions also violated state statute by demonstrating "a pattern of activity" that sought to deny DRB of its rightful ownership of the 33 condominium units purchased by Visionary, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit calls upon the court to set aside the sale of the units in question and restore title to DRB Development LLC. It also calls for Visionary Destin to be ordered to account for all profits it has made through sales and rentals and to pay those to DRB. It requests relief from the court that includes paying DRB's attorneys fees.
The Becnel family also calls for damages exceeding $5 million, claiming that on numerous occasions Damon Becnel breached an operating agreement with DRB. It also claims he breached his fiduciary duty to DRB and its members.
Court records provide no evidence that Damon Becnel has responded to the civil complaint against him. Though the suit filed by Bauman states Visionary, through Becnel, contends its actions were valid.
No attorney is listed for Becnel in the court record. Efforts to reach Becnel were not successful.
Though the lawsuit contends Damon Becnel violated state statutes, it does not seek criminal sanctions. He continues to face criminal charges of child abuse and cruelty to animals, however.
He was arrested Jan. 2
on charges he grabbed his daughter by the hair and threw her
headfirst into a bed frame. During the same incident, which
went viral when it was caught on video by the child victim,
Becnel is alleged to have picked up a dog by the throat and
He is due in court Sept. 14 to face trial in that case.