A high profile leasing team in the city is accusing its former firm of cheating it out of millions of dollars worth of commissions.
The group of leasing executives, Mitch Konsker, Paul Glickman, Matt Astrachan, Alex Chudnoff and Mitti Liebersohn, allege in a lawsuit filed yesterday in State Supreme Court that Cushman & Wakefield owes the team at least $4 million in unpaid compensation, though the complaint doesn’t specify the exact amount.
The group is suing the company for $8 million based on labor laws that award double the compensation found to be due to pay for damages.
Mr. Konsker and the rest of the team left C&W in early 2011 to move to rival Jones Lang LaSalle, where the group continued as a top producing partnership.
The suit alleges that C&W either withheld money or dealt Mr. Konsker and his colleagues undersized payments for deals they did before leaving the firm and also that were done subsequent to their move but that had been initiated while still at C&W and hence were to be split with the company.
“C&W… has steadfastly failed to pay to Plaintiffs millions of dollars in brokerage commissions and non-discretionary bonus compensation due,” the complaint states.
The suit also accused C&W of paying undersized splits, the percentage of the gross commission that the broker receives after the house takes its cut. C&W “arbitrarily determined splits without any reasonable basis and has steadfastly refused to share the information upon which it bases its determination for splits” the suit alleges.
Mr. Konsker and his colleagues’ complaint says that C&W ignored their repeated requests to resolve the matter.
Though some experts interviewed by The Commercial Observer said that commission disputes do arise at the city’s major real estate services firms, they typically don’t boil over into litigation. And while brokers sometimes grapple with colleagues how the proceeds of a lease should be split among them, experts said it is also unusual for a brokerage company itself to stiff an employee as commission splits with the house are usually plainly laid out.
One notable exception was a $24 million suit filed last year by former CBRE broker Jon Zuckerman who sued CBRE for lost commissions and potential income.
Mr. Konsker and his colleagues couldn’t be reached for comment. A C&W spokesman said the firm could not comment.
Stephen Meister, a prominent litigation attorney who is representing Mr. Konsker and his colleagues in the case, also couldn’t be reached by phone or email.