The administrator of the estate of William Gottlieb, a real estate mogul, is seeking $10 million in damages from a man he claims falsely represented himself as a broker for Gottlieb’s vast holdings.
The lawsuit, filed in New York State Supreme Court Tuesday, charges that Andrew Carenza identified himself to a number of real estate brokers as an agent for the Gottlieb company without a license and without its consent.
The suit said he and the Regal Real Estate Group, a company registered at Carenza’s Woodmere address, had entered into negotiations for the sale of several of the company’s properties and told individuals that he was in contract to buy others, the suit said. The properties were not identified in the filing.
Because of Carenza’s actions, the civil complaint alleges that William Gottlieb Company suffered “damage to its business reputation throughout the New York metropolitan area.”
Neil Bender, the executor of the Gottlieb estate, brought the suit against Carenza and the Regal Real Estate Group. Carenza is not a licensed broker in New York, according to state records. The Regal Real Estate Group was registered with the state Department of State in 2005 at an address in Woodmere. A woman reached at the company address would only say that Carenza had moved to California.
Justice Louis York held a hearing Friday on a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order, and the next court date was set for September 23, according the state court’s Web site.
Gottlieb, a low-profile owner who died in 1999, was known for a buy-and-hold philosophy and for being difficult to negotiate with, according to real estate professionals. The William Gottlieb Company portfolio contains approximately 125 buildings in Manhattan valued at about $1 billion.
“The Gottlieb company is extremely confidential and does not announce any of their plans to the media. They very rarely work with outside brokers or consultants,” said Eric Anton, executive managing director at brokerage Eastern Consolidated, who was not familiar with Carenza or the lawsuit.
The suit does not allege any money was taken or any contracts were signed. A spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney’s office said there were no criminal charges filed against Carenza.